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October 25, 2004

It's not Veteran's Day...

But I'm writing like it is, as I prepare to head off to the in-brief.

On this day in 1415, King Henry V whacked the flower of french nobility at Agincourt, giving Shakespeare inspiration to write some oratory that has since floated over many a gathering of old soldiers remembering hard times:

Westmoreland: O that we now had here But one ten thousand of those men in England That do no work today!

King:
What's he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No my fair cousin.
If we are marked to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honor.

God's will! I pray thee wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous of gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It grieves me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
But if it be a sin to covet honor,
I am the most offending soul alive.

No, faith my cousin, wish not a man from England.
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honor
As one more man methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. Do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.

This day is called the Feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a-tiptoe when this day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall see this day, and live old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbors
And say, "Tomorrow is Saint Crispian."

Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say, "These wounds I had on Crispin's day."
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with added luster,
what feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so lowly,
This day shall enoble his rank.
And gentlemen in England, now abed,
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here;
And hold their manhoods cheap while any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

Hail my band of brothers!*

One of you, during the 2nd hour of the clock Eastern, was the quarter-millionth visitor to Castle Argghhh! How ironic if it was Larry, making a Kerry-supporting statement on this post.

*Brothers in this context also means sisters!