"It is not of the dead alone that we think on this day.
There are those still living whose sex forbade them to offer their lives, but who gave instead their happiness.
Which of us has not been lifted above himself by the sight of one of those lovely, lonely women, around whom the wand of sorrow has traced its excluding circle--set apart, even when surrounded by loving friends who would fain bring back joy to their lives?
I think of one whom the poor of a great city know as their benefactress and friend. I think of one who has lived not less greatly in the midst of her children, to whom she has taught such lessons as may not be heard elsewhere from mortal lips. The story of these and her sisters we must pass in reverent silence.
All that may be said has been said by one of their own sex---
But when the days of golden dreams had perished,
And even despair was powerless to destroy,
Then did I learn how existence could be cherished,
Strengthened, and fed without the aid of joy.
Then did I check the tears of useless passion,
weaned my young soul from yearning after thine
Sternly denied its burning wish to hasten
Down to that tomb already more than mine."
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Memorial Day Speech, May 30, 1884
To all of the wives, mothers, sisters, fiances, soulmates and friends, may you find strength and peace this Memorial Day. And everyday.
Thank you for your sacrifices. Thank you for sharing your very best.
You are as much heroes as those whom you have lost.