THEY STRIDE across the carpet of our memories, those familiar faces that we knew and loved in another time, when the fragrance of lilacs shimmers softly on a sun-drenched breeze on this May day of remembrance.
We remember them at other times, but on this day our recollections seem much more vivid. We see them now as they were then–the young, the strong, the smiling friends of our other years–and we recall the moments we spent with them that fled like whispers on the wind.
Their voices span the years from here to there and we hear them again as they shared their hopes, their dreams, their fears, with us in stuffy, sleepless troop compartments on the eve of battle.
And we are haunted, too, by the spectres of those dark hours in which they were lost to us forever when death ambushed them in times and places that are sharply etched in our minds.
The one last time we saw them, lying beside the roads we walked and wrapped in alien shrouds, they were sudden strangers to us who remembered them as recent friends and not as the dead.
That we shed no public tears for them was no measure of our grief, for each of us wept in the privacy of our own hearts in a more profound sadness than mere gestures of mourning could convey. They would have wanted that.
So on a May day of memory we pay them public homage while at the same time we weep for them where none can see. They would have wanted that, too.
For these, our fallen friends and ourselves, we hope that all nations will recognize one day that war is far too meaningless to justify the sacrifices of so many young and hopeful men who bear great promise for the future.