“You may be lost, but you are not forgotten.”
– Jack Durrance, The Four Feathers
I suppose there are not many quotes better suited for Memorial Day weekend, when we remember the fallen soldiers, than one which is uttered by a soldier at a fellow soldier’s funeral.
The story of The Four Feathers, at least the 2002 version, follows a handful of friends, comrades in the British army at the very height of their empire. One became cowardly when he was given time to think about an impending deployment, but then, later on, went on his own, across the world, for the sake of his friends. A second was a stalwart leader of his troops, but suffered an injury which blinded him for life, and was only saved by the intervention of his “cowardly” friend. Another made disastrous mistakes born of pride, and lost many of his men as a result, but still pulled as many as he could back home. Yet another was unable to make that escape with the rest, and was thrown into a hellish prison, until his “cowardly” friend came and got him out. One more was cut down in battle, having lost his wits in the moment and being caught in friendly fire.
That last one was the soldier whose funeral Jack Durrance, the blinded soldier, was speaking at, with all of their surviving comrades present, honoring all of their fallen.
To say this group of soldiers has been through a great deal for their country, and for each other, would be a pretty accurate understatement. They have sacrificed, and lost, and made mistakes, and suffered. And they have died, for king, and country, and the comrades fighting by their side.
The least that those who remain can do is to remember those are lost.
Remember their names, and their stories.
Remember the best parts of them, and of the time they were together.
Remember the cause for which they fought and died.
Even if much is forgotten anyway, we must still remember what we can.
So, I, who have never gone off to battle in foreign lands, never set foot in an army barrack, never signed up to give everything I have for my country, and never died for it, I say thank you to all those who have.
I say thank you to all who have served, and all who have sacrificed. I do not know all of your names, or your faces, or your stories, but for the pains you have endured, and the friends you have lost, I say, for what it’s worth, thank you.
For everything I have, and everything you have given, thank you.
Thank you, fallen soldier, for everything.