Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pericles for ANZAC Day

While walking through town away from the cenotaph, I had much in mind the immortal words attributed to Pericles, when making the funeral oration over the Athenian dead in 431 B.C., by Thucydides in his History of the Peloponnesian War (II, 43):

Each has won a glorious grave – not that sepulchre of earth wherein they lie, but the living tomb of everlasting remembrance wherein their glory is enshrined. For the whole earth is the sepulchre of heroes. Monuments may rise and tablets be set up to them in their own land, but on far-off shores there is an abiding memorial that no pen or chisel has traced; it is graven not on stone or brass, but on the living hearts of humanity. Take these men for your example. Like them, remember that prosperity can be only for the free, that freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it.

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