“We are the fallen, but today we shall rise. The army of the dead will save the land of the living. This is not the order of a general. Nor the whim of a lunatic. This is a promise. The promise of a soldier!”
(turns to face the woman he loves)
“You will sleep safe tonight.”
Season 8, Episode 12, “Death in Heaven”
These words are from a Doctor Who season finale, where things have gotten as bad as they can possibly get, and then some, and then they’ve somehow gotten even worse. So, fairly standard for Doctor Who.
The particulars of this specific scenario can get a bit long and technical. Bottom line: the human race is in imminent danger of being wiped off the planet by a madman. To prevent this, a former soldier must lay down his life, and lead an entire, massive army in doing the same. These words are the speech he gives to those who are about to die. The last sentence, “You will sleep safe tonight,” are spoken directly to the woman he loves, his word, his promise, given to her.
This is what soldiers are truly about, I believe. They suffer injuries, harsh conditions, and endure hellish horrors, they bear the burden, weighing down on their soul, of taking human life, and untold numbers of them have laid down their own lives. They leave home and face the hazard of being sent so very far away from home to suffer and die. This they do in service to their country, their family, their comrades, their beliefs. They die for the sake of complete strangers, and for those they most love, that they might be safe in their beds for one more night.
We have entire graveyards filled with those who made the Promise.
I give my thanks to every veteran for their service, and I thank God for every soldier who ever laid down their life that I might enjoy mine.