Wednesday, March 20, 2013

President Bush Addresses the Nation (March 19, 2003)

Ten years ago I saw in the dayroom at Fort Monmouth with my fellow USMA Prepsters.

We had been given a reprise from having to attend mandatory study hours to watch a very important speech--we knew our futures hung in the balance. I had just graduated at the Arabic training course at the Defense Language Institute and couldn't help but think of my friends and what this would mean for them. I knew I had four and a half years before I could be called to Iraq
but my friends did not.

A cheer went up in the room when the President announced the ultimatum. Ben--a friend whose opinion I regarded highly--looked at me and asked in a quieted voice "Does no one else understand what this means?"

If I knew ten years ago how many of those in that room with me would not be here today I would never have believed it. If someone had told me that we would have been there so many years later I wouldn't have believed it.

Nevertheless they are heard in the still houses: who has not heard them?   
They have a silence that speaks for them at night and when the clock counts.   
They say, We were young. We have died. Remember us.    
They say, We have done what we could but until it is finished it is not done.   
They say, We have given our lives but until it is finished no one can know what our lives gave.   
They say, Our deaths are not ours: they are yours: they will mean what you make them.   
They say, Whether our lives and our deaths were for peace and a new hope or for nothing we cannot say: it is you who must say this.   
They say, We leave you our deaths: give them their meaning: give them an end to the war and a true peace: give them a victory that ends the war and a peace afterwards: give them their meaning.
We were young, they say. We have died. Remember us.
 -Archibald MacLeish


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