Yes, I remember them.
I think of the hopes, dreams, loves, ambitions and talents all unfulfilled; the lost architects and doctors and poets; the lost husbands and wives and children; the lost laughter, all scattered across foreign fields; so many corners and none forgotten; deaths heroic and mundane, lives all equally valuable; all erased, all come to nothing, and all for nothing. All because a few people wanted things they had no right to, for this is what war really boils down to whether the dead number a handful or tens of millions.
But amidst the remembrance of the dead, I also remember the living, the so-called survivors, who spend every day with the memories of the missing, of pain and suffering, lost smiles and young lives cut short. Who live minute by minute with the guilt of still being here decades after stupid moment upon stupid moment took the light from the eyes of their relatives, friends and comrades. Who aren’t really ‘here’ at all as some part of them is forever ‘there’. Who held the hand of the starving child and the dismembered soldier and who hold them still.
How one is supposed to get over such a thing I do not know, I rejoice in the lives of those who seem to have managed and I grieve daily for those who can’t. Who cannot let go, who keep the dead with them in reparation for living in the world created by their dying. But that doesn’t work, one cannot keep the dead; their time is past, that is where they should be and the pull on them is unassailable. One cannot bring them forward, all one can do is stay behind with them, whilst one’s body breathes on abandoned, lost, waiting for that final breath so that all will be complete again.
When they list the huge unimaginable numbers, remember that with the ghosts of those dead, dwell the ghosts of the living