Saturday, November 12, 2005

Armistice, Veterans' and Remembrance Days

We have had all too many "wars to end wars," and so many were started when they did not need to be.

But, whether any war was "needed" or not, the soldiers of the many nations heeded the call to defend what they saw was right, or just, or simply because to Serve was what they saw as right, and proper.

Henry V is very much a soldier's play, and King Hal's address (it is too stirring, and too true, to be called a "speech"), is as true, and relevant, to those who serve today, wherever they are, under whatever flag they live, as it was when Shakespeare gave the lines to his actors.

To those who go into harm's way for us, we must rededicate these lines

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 Crispian'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.

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