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A fable for the fallen

Related: Why do we remember
Visiting the Wall

The wise man sat under the great tree overlooking the city. By his side sat his finest pupil, his most admiring charge. Together they looked down at the streets, homes and businesses below and the learned elder made a loud sigh of contentment as he watched the people walking about below.

“It is a great day my child, the day that freedom and peace truly begins for us!” He said this loudly and with a shining in his eyes that the child saw was truly bright. “This is the day we have finally driven the warriors from our midst, those who studied the arts of destruction, violence and war are finally gone, and peace and freedom shall truly reign now.”

“But my father says he is afraid we shall be weak and live in fear now. That the evil and strong will come against us and take away our dearest gifts, our freedom, our possessions and our lives” the pupil said, with her eyes fixed on the face of her mentor.

The teacher replied “Your father, the shopkeeper who charges so much for his wares that he drives others to wish to steal for they have not and cannot afford what he sells? He is the cause of theft, the originator of the thief as such crimes are caused by want, not evil.”

“You still do not see the greater truths, My Dear, that war is caused by warriors not by evil, not by the thirst to neither destroy others or possess their land nor enslave their people. It is the diplomat who can speak to the true nature of any enemy that may appear. You see, it is the possession of things that makes the thief and the threat of the warrior that creates the war. The true nature of our species is at peace and free and now that we have driven the last of the warriors from us we shall know true freedom. Soon we will redistribute the goods of the merchant as well and we shall now have plenty and in doing such we shall have freedom from the thief and robber for they are not evil, only in great need.”

The girl thought for several moments and said, “Then, Teacher, why may we not visit the grave of our grandfather on the Day of Remembering, for he fell defending the city when the terrible raiders came years ago? My mother still weeps at his sacrifice and how he saved our freedom that day!”

“The Day of Remembering is cast away with the warrior way, too, My Child, for their sacrifice was simply a waste as all war is a waste; and to remember is to revere, and reverence will quickly rebirth the spirit of the warrior we have, just this day, driven from our city. Remember the condition of mankind is, by nature at peace and with plenty, it is the warrior who brings violence to our peaceful spirit.”

“Then who guards your streets this day, Old One?” Came a voice from behind them.

They turned but the sun made the stranger only a silhouette; “and who watches the shops for the shopkeepers when their day is done?” “Who will come when the weak cry from the pain the strong would impose upon them, and who among you will keep chains from you when your freedom is done?”

“But,” cried the old fellow “whoever would do such things? It is not in our nature, it makes no sense, it is not our way.”

“It is the way of power, the path of force, the wish to subjugate others, to possess that which is theirs that drives us that is the true nature of mankind” laughed the shadow. “You have forgotten all of the truths, and created a universe of falsehoods in which you live. Child, it is the sword of your grandfather that drove me back years ago and I will never forget his strength as it lies remembered on my breast as a great scar. But you have chosen to forget him and his blood that bought you this freedom, you have decided to mock and exile those who would stand between liberty and oppression, those who would bleed and spill blood to keep you free. Why, in all of history freedom is rarer than a diamond, but like a diamond, not held long by the weak!”

“But they were Barbarians who caused war to be an option when all we seek is to live in peace, to share our bounty, to love all,” pleaded the old fool.

“Then I shall be sure to let you rest in peace” laughed the man as he raised a great horn to his lips and signaled the attack.

It is written by the followers of the Old Wise Man that it was his brilliant mind and eloquence that so inflamed the invader that he blew his horn in such a rage that the sound carried all the way to City’s warriors on a distant ridge so that they returned in a great fury and shed their blood and the blood of the enemy and so won the freedom of the city ... exactly as the old man had planned…

Today and always, remember those warriors who have gone before us and those who will continue to risk and to sacrifice to protect our way of life, our peace, our safety, and our security.

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