Suggestive programs for special day exercises/Memorial Day/The Soldiers kept in Remembrance
THE SOLDIERS KEPT IN REMEMBRANCE.
Ye that mourn, let gladness mingle with your tears. It was your son, but now he is the nation’s. He made your household bright: now his example inspires a thousand households. Dear to his brothers and sisters, he is now brother to every generous youth in the land. Before, he was narrowed, appropriated, shut up to you; now he is augmented, set free, given to all. Before he was yours; he is ours. He has died from the family that he might live to the nation. Not one name shall be forgotten or neglected: and it shall by and by be confessed of our modern heroes, as it is of an ancient hero, that he did more for his country by his death than by his whole life.
Neither are they less honored who shall bear through life the marks of wounds and sufferings. Neither epaulette nor badge is so honorable as wounds received in a good cause. Many a man shall envy him who henceforth limps. So strange is the transforming power of patriotic ardor, that men shall almost covet disfigurement. Crowds will give way to hobbling cripples. and uncover in the presence of feebleness and helplessness. And buoyant children shall pause in their noisy games and, with loving reverence, honor those whose hands can work no more and whose feet are no longer able to march except upon that journey which brings good men to honor and immortality.
Oh, mother of lost children! Sit not in darkness, nor sorrow, whom a nation honors. Oh, mourners of the early dead! They shall live again and live forever. Your sorrows are our gladness. The nation lives because you gave it men that loved it better than their own lives. And when a few more days shall have cleared the perils from around the Nation’s brow, and she shall sit in unsullied garments of liberty, with justice upon her forehead, love in her eyes, and truth upon her lips,—she shall not forget those whose blood gave vital currents to her heart, and whose life, given to her. shall live with her life till time shall be no more.
Every mountain and hill shall have its treasured name, every river shall keep some solemn title, every valley and every lake shall cherish its honored register; and till the mountains are worn out and the rivers forget to flow, till the clouds are weary of replenishing springs and the springs forget to gush and the rills to sing, shall their names be kept fresh with reverent honors which are inscribed upon the book of National Remembrance.