|There are no Words
Author: Stephen Ratliff PM
Memorial Day Remembrance. A clip of a private memorial after the Dominion War goes viral.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Words: 1,180 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 3 - Published: 05-28-12 - id: 8158589
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: There Are No Words
Author: Stephen Ratliff
Series: TNG, Marrissa Stories
Summary: A clip of a private memorial.
There was just something about the clip caught at Arlington on the first Memorial Day following the end of the Dominion War. It was long before any memorial to the war had been built.
Centuries before, the Tomb of the Unknowns had been the site of many memorials, but it's time had past along with the country that had built it. It was lovingly maintained, though, as was the whole Arlington National Cemetery.
Many have claimed to have been there, the day the tradition started. On that Memorial Day, as the young female officer said, "In the year of our lord, twenty-three seventy-six." The archaic phrasing somehow appropriate in it's timeless. Her soprano voice, soft, yet strident and demanding of attention echoed over the hills that housed the graves of the fallen. Her words, not intended to be remembered through the ages, but much like that of another speech at the dedication of another cemetery, would be.
That day, those three officers, dressed in full dress uniform, honors and medals on their chests, stood before those graves, those known and unknown, and gave honor to those that they had severed with and had died in that service. One of them was a Captain, Vulcan, though only partial. Her father came from these lands. Indeed the Captain shared the last name of the President who served first as head of the great nation who had set aside the land to honor those dead buried there. There was also a young blonde Lieutenant, practically a young boy, who stood beside the Captain. His head bowed in reverence, as the young female officer spoke.
It was the words of the last of these, who wore the rank of Lieutenant Commander, that are remembered. And image of her standing, staring at the Tomb of the Unknowns, tears in her eyes. She wore a Star Cross, a Presidential Unit Citation with a cluster, and a Captain Pike Medal of Valor. Her long blond hair was braided tightly. She brought her hand up in an archaic salute to the tomb, those that had fallen in defense of their nation. Then she began to speak.
"We come here, in the year of our Lord, twenty-three seventy-six, having survived a war when many of our shipmates, colleagues, and friends did not. We come here, on this Memorial Day, in this place, where many that have laid down their lives for their freedom where laid to rest, to remember. We come to honor, those shipmates, colleagues and friends, who can not do so, those alive, those who have died and been put to rest elsewhere, and those whose bodies will never be returned to rest here, or in any such place of honor.
"There are no words that can describe what they meant to us. There no words which can describe what their sacrifice, their blood shed in war, their lives given in service to the Federation, means. We have tried long and hard to do so, but there are no words.
"So in tribute to their service, their sacrifice, we come to this place, where so many are laid beneath this concentrated ground. We know that we can not, and do not know all about them. Even in our best memories are but poor attempts. In the grand scheme of universe they will be not long remembered. Memory is short, but here we can at least add to the memory of these holy grounds, the names of those we remember.
The Lieutenant Commander stepped back, and the Captain stepped forward, then left, centering herself on the tomb. It was the Captain who read the first thirty-three names that day. The video that first circulated only has her saying three of them, though there is a longer version that was not artfully cut for time.
"Captain Jeffery Sinclair of the Armageddon
Lieutenant Bertin Pizzaro
Captain Jose Devista of the Wakizashi
The Captain then stepped back, and the young Lieutenant stepped forward. As the young Lieutenant said his names, his young voice broke with sorrow. No one would doubt that he had keenly felt their deaths. Only six names were in the short recording of the young Lieutenant giving those names who died under his command. The young Lieutenant who sent his pilots off to fight.
"Lieutenant Ichiro Akabayshi
Ensign Shing Chin
Ensign Dieu-Kiem Nguyen
Ensign Goro Fukamori
Ensign Hisako Asamizu
Ensign Kei Kobayshi
After his thirty-three names, the young Lieutenant stepped back, his head bowed, tears pooled in the corner of his eyes.
Then the young Lieutenant Commander stepped forward. Her eyes were already filled with the memories of the names that had been recited before her. The tears had already sent their trails down her cheeks. She still crisply took the center forward post, her movements sharp and formal. She did not wipe the tears from her eyes and cheeks. Those tears had been shed in the remembrance of the fallen. To do so would not give them honor. And to honor them was why she had come there that day. She said the names crisply, clearly, carefully. She did not stumble over them. Thirty-four names she said. But only three made the recording. Only three of thirty-four, but even then, the video was longer than most such clips.
"Master Chief Petty Officer Nicholas Quimby
Lieutenant Dukat Mikor
Commodore Berganmister Portinmire
Tears now steamed down the Lieutenant Commander's cheeks, as the last name seemed to echo over the crosses on the grounds. The Captain and the Lieutenant stepped up beside her, and together they gave the archaic salute. Then in silence, they made and about face, and marched off the grounds.
As the clip showed their march, perfect, as if it had been practiced for ages, each step perfectly matched despite their differences in height, the editor of the clip faded in over top, a close up of the young Lieutenant Commander, tears streaming down her face, as she said those names.
Then it faded to black.
In the weeks that followed, in the years that followed, uncountable numbers viewed that clip. They watched the honors those three Star Fleet Officers had delivered in their dress uniforms on the thirtieth of May, twenty-three seventy-six. For years, many wondered who they were, those three officers whose private honors of their fallen comrades had been posted and replayed throughout the Galaxy, were. No one came forward.
Eventually, someone would find out. The names in the clip were enough that if you looked in the right place you would be able to figure it out. The keepers of such records quietly discouraged it. After all, the honors were not for those three officers.
Instead, they directed them to the records of the names which had been recited.
For it was to them, those that gave their lives for their country, that the honors were given and deserved.