2009-09-06

Semper Fidelis

The Marines have a motto, 'ever faithful'. This faithfulness of soldiers to one another is so very clearly illustrated by the principle of 'no one left behind.' Faithful soldiers will risk everything to return and retrieve a fallen comrade.
 
Life is also like a war. We all struggle to survive, fighting against many obstacles. But in this war of life, the combat fatality rate is 100%. When we think of all the people who have ever lived, we can understand that each one, in their own time, has fallen in the face of one enemy or another: disease, illness, aging, murder, or literal war itself. Each one puts up the good fight, but in the end it is the enemy, Death, which has won. All of our comrades, our friends and family reaching indefinitely far back into the past, have fallen on the battlefield of life. And there they  lie, frozen in time and space, removed from us and inaccessible to us, but lying there still, 'in eternity'.
 
Even now, we who are living now are in the same battle against the same enemy. It is very likely that we, too, will fall, although for the first time in human history, our side is developing weapons that may give our Enemy his first taste of our resistance, pushing him back, and heralding the at least remote possibility of his eventual defeat. As John Donne prophesied, "Death, thou shalt die." But even if we or future generations are able to defeat Death, it will not be enough for each one of us to save only ourselves.
 
It is up to us to return for the fallen, to go back on the battlefield and retrieve our comrades. They did not deserve to die, they should not have died, and the Enemy should not be allowed his victory forever. We must dedicate ourselves, that when the battle against Death is won in the present, its victory will be rolled back into the past, so that those innocents who were murdered by Death in the past will also be able to share in our victory of Life. Only then will we be truly faithful to our people, 'forever faithful.' 

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