Monday, April 19, 2004

Quote of the Day 4/19/04

This is yet another extended Quote of the Day. These are excerpts from Chaplain Roland Gittlesohn's sermon at the dedication of the Fifth Division Cemetery on Iwo Jima. Chaplain Gittlesohn delivered these words on March 14, 1945 while shots were still being fired on the island.

Rabbi Gittlesohn said:

"Somewhere in this plot of ground there may lie the man who could have discovered the cure for cancer. Under one of these Christian crosses, or beneath a Jewish star of David, there may rest now a man who was destined to be a great find the way, perhaps, for all to live in plenty. Now they lie here silently in this sacred soil, and we gather to consecrate this earth in their memory. ....

This war, with all its frightful heartache and suffering is but the beginning of our generation's struggle for democracy. When the last battle has been won, there will be those at home, as there were last time, who will want us to turn our backs in selfish isolation on the rest of organized humanity, and thus to sabotage the very peace for which we fight. We promise you who lie here: We will not do that! ....

Thus do we memorialize those who, having ceased living with us, now live within us. Thus do we consecrate ourselves, the living, to carry on the struggle they began. Too much blood has gone into this soil for us to let it lie barren. Too much pain and heartache have fertilized the earth on which we stand. We here solemnly swear: This shall not be in vain! Out of this, and from the suffering and sorrow of those who mourn, this will come--we promise--the birth of a new freedom for the sons of men everywhere. Amen."

Click here to read the rest of the address.