“Noal would die with honor. Once, Mat would have thought that kind of thing foolish-what good was honor if you were dead? But he had too many memories of soldiers, had spent too much time with men who fought and bled for that honor, to discredit such notions now.”- Brandon Sanderson/Robert Jordan “Towers of Midnight”
This is a sensitive subject, but one necessary as we come through memorial day. As most of us enjoy having a bit of time off of work and the impending beginning of Summer we have this holiday.
Perhaps the most important holiday.
I have quotes to bookend this little narrative to try and illustrate the pride and truth of what the holiday really means. Your Facebook will have been filled with pictures of military graveyards, or pictures of soldiers helping others, or of the Flag flowing in the wind.
But what do these symbols really mean to people who weren’t there? What does the semi-amorphous meaning of country mean?
It is nothing without brotherhood.
Men and women fight and die for their friends and family and for that kinship. The idea goes far beyond ideals and faithfulness to a country or to a flag. The true meaning of heroism comes from love and friendship. To people and to each other. This is what this holiday is really about. Honoring the men and women who gave their lives so that we might live in a better world. Our brothers and sisters (both metaphoric and blood) who have changed the world to try and save us.
People go to war for an ideal or a country. They die to protect their brothers and sisters.
That is the most honorable thing in the world.
I use words to try and give that honor back, though it falls short, it is all I have.
Thank you my brothers and sisters who have died to save me.
“God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say “To-morrow is Saint Crispian.”
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say “These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.”
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words—
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester—
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.” -Shakespeare Henry V