Softly, we who survived trod home soil so firm and safe beneath our feet and slowly lift our eyes to gaze in Heaven above . . . For we have given our all, our youthful vitality and man’s strength to preserve the freedoms and sanctity of our nation.
Yet personal sacrifice pales in the brilliance of immortality gained by our forefathers, our brothers, buddies, our sons and daughters, who shed noble blood across the centuries to lie in lonely fields both native and foreign. And still the ranks of the Immortal grow, enraging celestial infernos and battle-scarred terrain and depths of seas around the globe.
Yes, restless feelings disturb our minds and gnaw at our hearts;
Is it enough that we weathered the perilous onslaught and so painfully, lo proudly, recall valiant deeds and the stout hearts which performed them, but beat no more? No, tasks for our nation require unyielding devotion.
Pray remember, you who listen: We, the veterans of all wars, pledge to those who fell beside us, and those yet to fall, that they shall be made illustrious by perpetuation of the seldom heard and shyly guarded, heartfelt-reasons for which we fought and forever strive,
–The unfathomed value of every individual’s human dignity, and the preciousness of his soul. —
Let all who survived, then, from the past and the future, grapple these foundations of our sacred American freedoms, to eternally labor toward our goal. Those immortal lives expended for our people shall remain a spiritual anvil on which we endeavor to shape man’s elusive dream of a world devoid of lust, barren of deceit . . . through the knowledge that past is the framework of the present, all tomorrows are forged today, and that tomorrow truly is forever.
[Editor’s note: This prose under the title “Veterans Communion” appears on a public monument in Longview, Texas. It is undated and attributed to S. Christopher Paris. — rlc]