Wallowing in bed lazily on a Monday afternoon, I started watching a documentary on the Civil War by Ken Burns. While the first episode was in entirety riveting, the most poignant section was towards the end, where, to a rendition of Ashokan Farewell in the background, an actor recited portions of a letter that Major Sullivan Ballou had written to his wife Sarah a week before the First Battle of Bull Run, in which (as he had predicted / feared in his letter) he lay down his life for the cause of the Union.
Major Ballou writes eloquently about his love for his wife and their children but points out frequently that service to his nation is far more important to him than the happiness he can ever seek in their company.
Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.
It is Memorial Day in the United States, and I salute servicemen all across the globe for laying their lives down so we could continue to live and for engaging in wars no one likes to wage so we could all live in peace.
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