It’s been a very long week. Losing a friend, a mentor, a fellow sailor and airdale, it can be rough. We will bury his remains with all due honors, a military funeral for an American hero, and a loving husband and father. But in a sense, it isn’t him that we will inter. Just his earthly remains. His soul, his spirit, have already departed, transitioning from one world to another, where, at some time, we will all meet again.
Yet, Lex will live on in all of us who knew him, who read his blog, who clutch tightly to the last vestiges of his wonderful writing. As long as we remember him, he will be among us. There will be many wakes held for him around the world, literally, this weekend. For anyone who would care to join me, I’ll be thinking of Lex and happy to reminisce with you. I’ll be at Byrne’s Irish Pub. in Bath, Maine from 6pm to whenever. I’ll have a Guinness (for strength!) in his honor, and a toast to all absent companions.
Laurence Binyon (1869-1943), the poet and art critic, wrote many works, but his best known piece came from his service in the 1st World War. Most folks know the 4th stanza, but I believe the whole thing is worth reading today. In my humble opinion, it best says that which we who have served understand, and believe.
For The Fallen
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
God Bless you Lex. We’ll do our best to take up the slack and carry on for you.