Sunday, May 24, 2009

Some thoughts for Memorial Day

In honor of Memorial Day in the U.S. on Monday, here are a few quotes from the books honoring those who fell in battle:

The first is from DRAGONFLY IN AMBER, after the battle of Prestonpans:
I found them at length some distance up the hill behind the church. Jamie was sitting on a rock, the form of Alexander Kincaid cradled in his arms, curly head resting on his shoulder, the long, hairy legs trailing limp to one side. Both were still as the rock on which they sat. Still as death, though only one was dead.

I touched the white, slack hand, to be sure, and rested my hand on the thick brown hair, feeling still so incongruously alive. A man should not die a virgin, but this one did.

"He's gone, Jamie," I whispered.

(From Dragonfly In Amber by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 36, "Prestonpans". Copyright ©1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
The next quote is also from DRAGONFLY, from the scene in the beginning where Roger and Brianna visit the battlefield at Culloden:
"Heather," Roger said. "It's more common in the summer, when the heather is blooming--then you'll see heaps like that in front of every clan stone. Purple, and here and there a branch of the white heather--the white is for luck, and for kingship; it was Charlie's emblem, that and the white rose."

"Who leaves them?" Brianna squatted on her heels next to the path, touching the twigs with a gentle finger.

"Visitors." Roger squatted next to her. He traced the faded letters on the stone--FRASER. "People descended from the families of the men who were killed here. Or just those who like to remember them."

(From Dragonfly In Amber by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 4, "Culloden". Copyright ©1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Here is a bit from the battle of Moore's Creek Bridge, in ABOSAA:
Major Donald MacDonald floundered, rising halfway in the water. His wig was gone and his head showed bare and wounded, blood running from his scalp down over his face. His teeth were bared, clenched in agony or ferocity, ther was no telling which. Another shot struck him and he fell with a splash--but rose again, slow, slow, and then pitched forward into water too deep to stand, but rose yet again, splashing frantically, spraying blood from his shattered mouth in the effort to breathe.

Let it be you, then, lad, said the dispassionate voice. He raised his rifle and shot MacDonald cleanly through the throat. He fell backward and sank at once.

(From A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 113, "The Ghosts of Culloden". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
And this is from Lord John's visit in "Haunted Soldier" with the parents of a lieutenant killed at the battle of Crefeld:
"I saw your son for the first time only moments before his death," he said, as gently as he could. "There was no time for talk. But I can assure you, sir, that he died instantly--and he died bravely, as a soldier of the king. You--and your wife, of course--may be justly proud of him."

(From Lord John and the Hand of Devils by Diana Gabaldon, Lord John and the Haunted Soldier, Part I, "Inquisition". Copyright© 2007 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

No comments: