2950-05-31 – Tales from the Service: Veslemøy Park
This week, a Confederated Assembly delegation led by War Minister Gennady Neirin visited Maribel for the dedication of the Causey War Memorial in a groundside cemetery near the Maribel Spaceport. Despite its name, this memorial bears the names of all those confirmed and presumed dead after the battles on and above Margaux. Captain Liao allowed this embed team to join him at the dedication, at which Admiral Zahariev and most of the other senior captains and flag officers of Fifth Fleet were present.
Rather than bring an account sent in by one of the many spacers and adventures involved in the war in peripheral roles, I’ve elected to reproduce a portion of Minister Neirin’s speech at the dedication.
(NOTE: The speech below was given during of a public event which was, by request of Fifth Fleet officials, not recorded by any audiovisual device. A transcript recorder in the podium provided a textual record of the event for the Naval Archives, and it is from this record which this selection is drawn.)
Yes, we are here to dedicate a few hundred square meters of Maribel soil in the memory of those who fought The Incarnation to a bloody standstill at Margaux. Think on that for a moment. Perhaps you can see, as I do, that this offering of ground, synthcrete, and stone is too little to immortalize the memory of so much blood and so many sacrifices.
Many centuries ago, when dedicating a memorial not too different in principle from this one, one of our forebears made a revolutionary remark, that perhaps in the short remainder of his life he did not fully understand. Indeed, many centuries of great leaders and thinkers have pondered his words without grasping all the implications of what that man said.
What he said, standing on the beaten and blasted soil of the battleground on a grey day in Earth’s late autumn, was that we, the living, cannot really consecrate a fitting memorial for the dead. The memorial they consecrated through their valorous struggle consecrated a memorial for them which was, as he said, far beyond our power to alter.
You have already heard a few anecdotes from Bishop Anderson and Father Pamphilos telling the stories of a few of the many heroes of Margaux. In the light of these stories, and in the certainty that there are thousands of other stories of valor which history will never know, can we ever expect to build or consecrate any memorial truly worthy of their memory?
In view of this sobering reminder, let us not think too highly of what we do here at this memorial. Soon, we will all return to our posts, to our ships, to our halls of government, and it will be time to return to the unfinished work started by the dead whose names you see on these pillars. True, we now look at Margaux as a defeat, and a bloody, sobering one, but it represented the hopes and prayers of all the peoples of the Reach. At Margaux, the brave souls now departed across the Sea of Glass showed that our foe can be beaten, and now it is our duty to complete the work they started, to ensure that their sacrifice is not in vain.
Even as far as we can give these dead a memorial, I would see that this place, here on Maribel, should not be the final remembrance of their sacrifice. Some day, whether it be in one T-year, in five, or in twenty, we will return to Margaux, and take back the enduring monument which our dead built and hallowed for themselves. When we do, it will be the battlefields and redoubts of the Causey Plana themselves which will stand for all time as a testament to their sacrifice, and to the victory whose foundation is watered in their blood. Their enduring memorial to future generations will, God willing, not be found in any edifice of stone; it will be in the freedom and prosperity of Margaux and all the other worlds now fallen into darkness.
To that end, my friends, we must be active in our own roles in this conflict, but do not forget also to pray unceasingly. Pray for our spacers and troops, and pray that God grants them victory on their battlefields on this beachhead, or on the next.