07 December 2010

Remember Pearl Harbor! (And St. Crispian's Day)

Today marks the 69th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. 

There are fewer and fewer veterans left who were there...I think the number is in the low hundreds now.  One of the indicators of the gravity of that event is, that even after all these years, many of the veterans of that event choose to be buried in the military cemetery that is comprised of the USS Arizona.  Some of them left good friends there, others just can't get past the events that changed their lives so much in a couple of hours on that December morning.

I honor those who served there, and everywhere else and every-when else, on this day.  Thank you for your service!

Many are aware of the excerpt from Shakespeare's Henry the Fifth St. Crispain's Day speech because of the TV series Band of Brothers.  I'd like to run a bit more of this in honor of those who served, because it truly captures some part of what it means to have been in combat together with your brothers-in-arms.

[The work of Shakespeare is in the public domain, but I borrowed this copy from this web site.  There is a short explanation of the historical events in which Shakespeare placed his fictional speech...interesting read.]

This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.

    He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,

    Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,

    And rouse him at the name of Crispian.

    He that shall live this day, and see old age,

    Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,

    And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'

    Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,

    And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'

Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,

    But he'll remember, with advantages,

    What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,

    Familiar in his mouth as household words-

    Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,

    Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-

    Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.

    This story shall the good man teach his son;

    And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,

    From this day to the ending of the world,

    But we in it shall be remembered-

    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

    For he to-day that sheds his blood with me

    Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,

    This day shall gentle his condition;

    And gentlemen in England now-a-bed

    Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,

    And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks

    That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.


1 comment:

  1. Not that I've seen many renditions of Henry V, my favorite is Kenneth Branagh's version. It always chills me when he says "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers..." You can see the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAvmLDkAgAM



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