They Who Return Not
Over 2,000,000 of our boys have been sent to France since June of last year, most of them this year, not all for fighting, but all for service, and heroes every one. What they have done toward the victorious ending of this war is not to be measured with exactness in this day, but we know that they have done all and more than was expected of them; we know they have had a great and honorable share in the work that brought the triumph; we know that they have placed the word “American” still higher on the eternal roll of glory, and we know that we are proud of them, every last man of them.
Before very long the brown stream will be flowing westward and we shall welcome them as they deserve to be welcomed. But there are some who will not return. There are some who gave all that they had for the great cause, and they now sleep beneath the poppies in the fields of France. Many a rude cross bearing an American name tells of a sacrifice that was complete and of a service that may not with honor be forgotten. They died for us. That is the fact that should be gravened on every American heart. They died for us. And more—they died to save mankind from a cruel subjection; they died to secure the blessings of freedom for all men; they died that others might live—live happily, live in the bright sun of a new day. Each and every one of them bears a distinguished service cross that time cannot tarnish. Their names, ultimately, will pass into oblivion, as all names except a favored few must pass, but no years can efface their deeds, and they, though forgotten, will live forever in the immortality of their service. Some day we shall build great monuments to our boys who fell in France, but no edifice of marble or of brass can equal the monument they themselves have built.