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For Glory Lights The Soldier's Tomb

"Every year - in the full tide of spring, at the height of the symphony of flowers and love and life - there comes a pause, and through the silence we hear the lonely pipe of death. Year after year, lovers wandering under the apple trees and through the clover and deep grass are surprised with sudden tears as they see black veiled figures stealing through the morning to a soldier's grave. Year after year the comrades of the dead follow, with public honor, procession and commemorative flags and funeral march - honor and grief from us who stand almost alone, and have seen the best and noblest of our generation pass away.

 

But grief is not the end of all. I seem to hear the funeral march become a paean. I see beyond the forest the moving banners of a hidden column. Our dead brothers still live for us, and bid us think of life, not death - of life to which in their youth they lent the passion and joy of the spring. As I listen, the great chorus of life and joy begins again, and amid the awful orchestra of seen and unseen powers and destinies of good and evil, our trumpets sound once more a note of daring, hope, and will."

 

- Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (from "In Our Youth Our Hearts Were Touched With Fire," an address delivered for Memorial Day / May 30, 1884)

 

And another, 112 years later:

www.usmemorialday.org/speeches/other/memday1996.htm

 

The title of this picture is from a poem by Joseph Drake, and both are dedicated to my many aunts, uncles, and cousins who served in the military. Thank you for your sacrifice.

 

"And they who for their country die

shall fill an honored grave,

for glory lights the soldier's tomb,

and beauty weeps the brave."

 

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Taken on May 28, 2005