Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day, 2009

In the democracy of the dead all men at last are equal. There is neither rank nor station nor prerogative in the republic of the grave.

-- Senator JOHN JAMES INGALLS,1889

3 comments:

The South Plainsman said...

That is only partly true. All in the grave are certainly equal, in that they are dead.

But a coward in the grave is not the equal of a brave man. Never will be.

Blog of Ages said...

For the record, I came across this quote 30-odd years ago while writing a Memorial Day speech for Congressman Jake Pickle.

I liked it then and like it today.

Go pee on somebody else's grave.

Bob Huffaker said...

Wonder whether the South Plainsman's epitaph will specify heroism or cowardice.

Channel Firing

That night your great guns, unawares,
Shook all our coffins as we lay,
And broke the chancel window-squares,
We thought it was the Judgment-day

And sat upright. While drearisome
Arose the howl of wakened hounds:
The mouse let fall the altar-crumb,
The worms drew back into the mounds,

The glebe cow drooled. Till God called, "No;
It's gunnery practice out at sea
Just as before you went below;
The world is as it used to be:

"All nations striving strong to make
Red war yet redder. Mad as hatters
They do no more for Christ├ęs sake
Than you who are helpless in such matters.

"That this is not the judgment-hour
For some of them's a blessed thing,
For if it were they'd have to scour
Hell's floor for so much threatening ....

"Ha, ha. It will be warmer when
I blow the trumpet (if indeed
I ever do; for you are men,
And rest eternal sorely need)."

So down we lay again. "I wonder,
Will the world ever saner be,"
Said one, "than when He sent us under
In our indifferent century!"

And many a skeleton shook his head.
"Instead of preaching forty year,"
My neighbour Parson Thirdly said,
"I wish I had stuck to pipes and beer."

Again the guns disturbed the hour,
Roaring their readiness to avenge,
As far inland as Stourton Tower,
And Camelot, and starlit Stonehenge.

-- Thomas Hardy

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