"We are, meanwhile, going to erect befitting memorial tombs with beautiful flowers on them for our fallen soldiers. And inscribe their names on their tombstones in letters of gold, with our national flag flying overhead. For they did not die in vain. They fought and died for empire. And we hope that many more will volunteer to fight and die for our Great Fatherland. May God bless Empire!"
That was not voice of president of United States, addressing fellow Americans on Memorial Day. Rather, it was speech of Sunrise and Sunset, two kings who had led expeditionary forces throughout earth in a vain search for Inferno, terrorist. They had returned home without their soldiers, and had to explain to their countrymen and women why it was necessary for soldiers to die. The book's title from which quotation was taken is my controversial work, CHASING SHADOWS! : A Dream.
According to Jonathan Glover in his book, Humanity—A Moral History of Twentieth Century, "Death in twentieth-century war has been on a scale which is hard to grasp. . . . But, if these deaths had been spread evenly over a period, war would have killed around 2,500 people every day. That is over 100 people an hour, around clock, for ninety years." Hardly something to cheer about. People are either being slaughtered in political, racial, or religious wars. And members of armed forces are dying in large numbers.
It is for this reason that nations all over word have set aside a date to remember its fallen soldiers. Americans have two—the Memorial Day, which is marked on last Monday of May, and Remembrance Sunday or Veterans Day celebrated on November 11. On these occasions, seasoned speech writers ensconced in serenity of well guarded offices, craft Demosthenian and Ciceronian speeches and hand them over to draft dodging heads of states, who intone virtues of sacrifice and reward of patriotism in mellifluous voice of angels.
There will be somber religious services in churches on Memorial Day in United States. The pastors will specifically petition God to accept ‘souls' of departed soldiers and give them special seats in heaven; wives would weep over their dead husbands; tombs of ‘gallant' heroes would be whitewashed and beautiful flowers would be laid on them; war veterans who had been forgotten would instantly be remembered; there would be reports of sighted soldiers in far away lands who had been missing in action; and most important—there would be a one minute silence in memory of dead.
This year's Memorial Day promises to be interesting. Because one presidential candidate is a decorated war veteran while other is said to have played safe. But they are both honorable men. One thing which men of honor do on Memorial days is to recount their daring escapades in war. One presidential candidate may script appearance of man he saved from drowning in a river during war in Vietnam. I don't know what other would do. However, he too, is an honorable man. But what happens after Memorial Day?