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The Young Dead Soldiers Do Not Speak

| 09 Nov 2021 | 10:08

Nevertheless they are heard in the still houses: who has not heard them?

They have a silence that speaks for them at night and when the clock counts.

They say, We were young. We have died. Remember us.

They say, We have done what we could but until it is finished it is not done.

They say, We have given our lives but until it is finished no one can know what our lives gave.

They say, Our deaths are not ours: they are yours: they will mean what you make them.

They say, Whether our lives and our deaths were for peace and a new hope or for nothing we cannot say: it is you who must say this.

They say, We leave you our deaths: give them their meaning: give them an end to the war and a true peace: give them a victory that ends the war and a peace afterwards: give them their meaning.

We were young, they say. We have died. Remember us.

Editor’s note: This November 11th marked the first Veterans Day for the National World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The ceremony included a wreath laying, the reading of the Archibald MacLeish poem, “The Young Dead Soldiers Do Not Speak,” the tolling of the Bells of Peace by the Naval History and Heritage Command, and a special performance of Taps echoing from multiple buglers in WWI uniform.

The ceremony will remember the WWI Armistice that went into effect at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 and honor all Americans who served in WWI.