This Memorial Day

No political commentary for this Monday morning. That can wait. This is Memorial Day. There are other words –

These heroes are dead. They died for liberty – they died for us. They are at rest. They sleep in the land they made free, under the flag they rendered stainless – under the solemn pines, the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows, and the embracing vines. They sleep beneath the shadows of the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or of storm, each in the windowless Place of Rest. Earth may run red with other wars – they are at peace. In the midst of battle, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death. I have one sentiment for soldiers living and dead: cheers for the living; tears for the dead. ~ Robert G. Ingersoll

The dead soldier’s silence sings our national anthem. ~ Aaron Kilbourn

They hover as a cloud of witnesses above this Nation. ~ Henry Ward Beecher

In valor there is hope. ~ Tacitus

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it. ~ Thucydides

Without heroes, we are all plain people, and don’t know how far we can go. ~ Bernard Malamud

That’s what it takes to be a hero, a little gem of innocence inside you that makes you want to believe that there still exists a right and wrong, that decency will somehow triumph in the end. ~ Lise Hand

And each man stands with his face in the light of his own drawn sword. Ready to do what a hero can. ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Bravery never goes out of fashion. ~ William Makepeace Thackeray

Unconsciously we all have a standard by which we measure other men, and if we examine closely, we find that this standard is a very simple one, and is this: we admire them, we envy them, for great qualities we ourselves lack. Hero worship consists in just that. Our heroes are men who do things which we recognize, with regret, and sometimes with a secret shame, that we cannot do. We find not much in ourselves to admire; we are always privately wanting to be like somebody else. If everybody was satisfied with himself, there would be no heroes. ~ Mark Twain

As you get older it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary. ~ Ernest Hemingway

The authentic human being is one of us who instinctively knows what he should not do, and, in addition, he will balk at doing it. He will refuse to do it, even if this brings down dread consequences to him and to those whom he loves. This, to me, is the ultimately heroic trait of ordinary people; they say no to the tyrant and they calmly take the consequences of this resistance. Their deeds may be small, and almost always unnoticed, unmarked by history. Their names are not remembered, nor did these authentic humans expect their names to be remembered. I see their authenticity in an odd way: not in their willingness to perform great heroic deeds but in their quiet refusals. In essence, they cannot be compelled to be what they are not. ~ Philip K. Dick

I think the hero observes that nothing is so frightening as a labyrinth with no center. ~ Jorge Luis Borges

To be heroic does not have to mean possessing the ability to stand against the evils of the world, either well or successfully, but just that one is willing to stand. ~ Mike Alsford

When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes, they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home. ~ Tecumseh

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. ~ Winston Churchill

He did what heroes do after their work is accomplished; he died. ~ Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

About Alan

The editor is a former systems manager for a large California-based HMO, and a former senior systems manager for Northrop, Hughes-Raytheon, Computer Sciences Corporation, Perot Systems and other such organizations. One position was managing the financial and payroll systems for a large hospital chain. And somewhere in there was a two-year stint in Canada running the systems shop at a General Motors locomotive factory - in London, Ontario. That explains Canadian matters scattered through these pages. Otherwise, think large-scale HR, payroll, financial and manufacturing systems. A résumé is available if you wish. The editor has a graduate degree in Eighteenth-Century British Literature from Duke University where he was a National Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and taught English and music in upstate New York in the seventies, and then in the early eighties moved to California and left teaching. The editor currently resides in Hollywood California, a block north of the Sunset Strip.
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