Fortunate men! your country lives because you died. Your fame is placed where the breath of calumny can never reach it, where the mistakes of a weary life can never dim its brightness! Coming generations will rise up and call you blessed.
Unmixed praise is not due to any one. It leaves behind a sense of unreality. We can only do justice to a great man by a discriminating criticism. Hero-worship, which paints a faultless monster, whom the world never saw, is like those modern pictures which are a blaze of light without any shadow.
Pure hero-worship is healthy. It stimulates the young to deeds of heroism, stirs the old to unselfish efforts, and gives the masses models of mankind that tend to lift humanity above the commonplace meanness of ordinary life.
They summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtue of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.
These heroes are dead. They died for libertythey died for us. They are at rest. They sleep in the land they made free, under the flag they rendered stainless, under the solemn pines, the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows, and the embracing vines. They sleep beneath the shadows of the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or of storm, each in the windowless palace of rest. Earth may run red with other wars; they are at peace. In the midst of battle, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death. I have one sentiment for soldiers living and dead: cheers for the living; tears for the dead.