May We Never Forget

Harry stood at the head table of the Hogwarts Great Hall. The Sorting was over, the children were all sitting at their tables and the teachers were awaiting the food. Usually, Dumbledore gave a speech, but this year, Harry had been asked to do so. He was twenty now, and it'd been two full years since Voldemort fell. Two years since so many lost their lives, since so many sacrificed so much. "Quiet," he requested simply.

A curious hush fell over the room as innocent eyes in an array of colors stared towards him. None of these children will ever have to fear Voldemort, they will learn about him in history books and they will speak his name aloud. Clearing his throat, Harry began. "My name is Harry Potter, and while most of you may have heard my name, I am not here to speak of me. I am sure you all have noticed the absence of your Headmaster and I implore you not to worry, he is merely away on business. As such, I have been asked to give the welcoming speech."

He sighed, folding his hands in front of him. "Some of you went to school with me, though most of you did not. To those of you who did, I pray you remember my message and keep it strong in this school. For those of you who I did not attend school with, listen. Please. Some of you have younger siblings, perhaps so young that they have never heard the name Voldemort. I beseech you, talk of him. Tell them of his atrocities. I can only ask you, do not let Lord Voldemort's vicious tyranny go forgotten in the depths of some history book Professor Binns must read."

There was sparse laughter at this, but Harry's tone did not lighten. "What is even more important, is that you remember the people. Remember those who sacrificed anything and those who sacrificed everything. Please, I ask you to never forget the brave men and women of the Order, both young and old. Never forget Lily Evans, James Potter, Remus Lupin and the Longbottoms. Keep in your hearts the names of the Weasley family, each and everyone one. Remember with fervor the muggle-born prodigy Hermione Granger and the shy but supportive Neville Longbottom. Never forget Professor Minerva McGonagall, Nymphadora Tonks, Mundungus Fletcher, Arabella Figg and Alastor Moody. Remember Sirius Black and Albus Dumbledore. And above all, never forget the name of Severus Snape."

What had been soft whispered, turned in to a storm of intrigue and gossip. A cold glare from Professor McGonagall silenced the group. Harry took in a ragged breath and continued, "Severus Snape was a brilliant Potions Master, a terrific legilimen and an antisocial man. He spent nearly two decades of his life spying for Dumbledore in the tightest circle of Lord Voldemort. Risking life and limb, he did everything he could to protect the students of Hogwarts, to protect me." He could feel himself nearing tears, "Some of you will never have the pleasure, or displeasure, of knowing Professor Snape. As Voldemort's last victim, Severus Snape suffered greatly. He suffered for the years he spent behind the Dark Lord's back and he suffered for his compassion. For this, we can never forget him."

The room finally quieted down. "I have been asked to take his place as Potions Master, and I have accepted. These are not easy shoes to fill, without a doubt. He was a fine Potions Master, despite his biases and overwhelming homework. I would be the first to admit having hated Severus Snape when I was at Hogwarts, but it's how I came to know him afterward that I realized how wrong I'd been. He had the courage of a lion and was just as brazen. He was stubborn to a point. The late Potions Master was selfless in his pursuit of justice, sacrificing everything to bring Voldemort to defeat."

"I merely ask you to remember. While the fear in our hearts may fade, we can never forget the horrors. We can never forget the atrocities and we can never forget the heroes." Two small tears slid down the young man's pale cheeks as he stepped back and took his seat. The students sat there, numb with awe until Dennis Creevey stood from Gryffindor table and began to applaud. He was followed by the rest of the Hall, teachers and students alike. It was then that Harry realized they never would forget. They had lived it too, in some way or another, they all had.

His tears finally fell freely, Voldemort was gone. The wizarding world was free of his wrath, free of the fear he caused and free to admire it's Heroes. No one would ever forget the Heroes of the Order, just as no one would ever forget, The Boy Who Lived. And Harry, he would never forget the Potions Master who gave everything so that he could live.