Monday, May 28, 2012

On Decoration Day, Ingersoll

"These heroes are dead. They died for liberty. They died for us. They are at rest. They sleep in the land they made free under the flag they rendered stainless, under the solid pines, the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows, the embracing vines. They sleep beneath the shadows of the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or storm, each in a windowless palace of rest. Earth may run red with other wars; they are at peace. In the midst of battle, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death. I have one sentiment for the soldier, living and dead. Cheers for the living, and tears for the dead."

(From speaker's notes attributed to Robert Green Ingersoll, said to have been delivered in his hometown of Dresden, New York on what we know now as Memorial Day, 1866. Mrs. KintlaLake gifted me with Ingersoll's words this morning.)