“From now until the end of the world, we and it shall be remembered. We few, we Band of Brothers. For he who sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.” ~~ William Shakespeare in “King Henry V”
Where Will You Be On Saint Crispen’s Day?
Open your Shakespeare to Henry V, Act IV, Scene 3, where the king, at battle’s eve, rallies his “band of brothers.” The most stirring call to arms in the English language was written in 1599, in that scene when the king inspired his men, his warriors, to fight valiantly as brothers-in-arms. (Link to Audio)
The methods of warfare have evolved somewhat since that time, but the character and brotherhood of soldiers remains much the same as it was 400 years ago, in the time of William Shakespeare. Today’s war is a global war and it is not fought solely on the battlefield. The conflict we face seems different from any that we have fought before. Skills and talents are needed other than the traditional ones possessed by soldiers. In this war, civilians on the home front or abroad can be warriors for the right. We watch with our eyes and write with our computers. We can disseminate local news and we can be creative with the new technologies that are now available. This World War III is a battle where the main weaponry is information and technology and skills and ingenuity are needed in these fields. If you cannot be a soldier in a uniform, your talents are still valued. We can all be citizen soldiers as we contribute our skills toward this terrible war.
The poetry of William Shakespeare is a great legacy handed down to us from our cultural forebears. Cherish it. Read the Bard’s immortal lines about war and understand our warriors, and think about what you can do to contribute to the war effort, instead of relying upon our soldiers to do all of the fighting.
All can be soldiers, in or out of uniform. Those who heed not the call to arms today will rue the victory, as they will not be able to recount to their children and grandchildren that they fought in those long ago days and saved civilization from a dreadful darkness. When they are old men and women, today’s soldiers will say with pride that they fought evil and won a great victory.
And gentlemen in England now abed, Shall think themselves accursed they were not here, And hold their manhood’s cheap whiles any speaks, That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day. ~~William Shakespeare “King Henry V”