THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER SPEAKS
BY TIMOTHY MULVEY
I am the Unknown Soldier. I was conceived and born under the blue skies. I grew. I loved life, knowing how good it could be. But I had a commission.
I was compelled to leave a plow in the province, to forget a rice field in the farm, to forsake a vineyard in the barrio. I went off to war.
But citizens, somewhere in the annals of casualty, I fell. The manner, the details of my death are not important. This only you should remember: when the science of war speaks from the infallible mouth of a bomb or gun, human fallible flesh shrinks and dies and in a dirty suit.
So I felt.
So I died.
But I have a new vantage point, citizens. My name now is not attached to local conscription. I am not Jew and Gentile; Filipino or Russian, French or Japanese; English German, or American. I am simply a casualty of war.
I will now say the harsh word, louder than the sound of all your revelry. My flesh is moldering in the earth. Will you remember that? My young flesh is moldering in the earth.Yet I do not say it with misgiving. I say it only for this new reason: life might have been kinder to me. I might have been spared a few years longer to know the joy of loving and of being loved. I might have been taken a child upon my knee and laughed (does it make much difference now) in the cool of the evening, or in the shadows of the night. But I was a casualty of war.
If I have done well, you may consign me to the small benedictions of village green and civic memorials. I will not reset it. If I have done wrong, if I have been the barbarian enemy who ran from a cave with the hot flame of death wrapped about my body, be kind, if not to my memory, at least to my orphaned children: for I was not a beast, but a man, blood-brother to man who flung the flame.
I am the Unknown Soldier. And since I am now of kindred spirits with all those who have spent their blood for cause, right or wrong, I know this: peace is not an armistice peace is not an end of hostilities; peace does mean the bending of peoples to yoke of the victor. Rather, peace means the return of all humanity to its common decency, to its self-respect.
My work is finished. Pray, now, that my soul will rest fell with HIM who once said: "Greater love than this no man hath, that man lay down his friends" and in the meantime, O you who still breathe under the sun, raise up the new family.
Let the bond between you be stated so simply, that even a child might understand. Let the bond between you be love since love, citizens is not only a good neighbor policy it is the Law of the4 Prophets, If love is bond, love for all mankind, for all the tribes of the earth, there will be no need for violence. If love is not the bond, you shall reap the terrible fruit of your own planting. I am the Unknown Soldier of the most terrible conflict the earth has ever seen. I shall have died in vain if men cannot now, sit down as one family at a common table under the Fatherhood of God.