A million died, in a nation numbering 30 million. It was a catastrophe to those who lived it: every family had a casualty, and decorating the graves was a very personal affair.But as surely as this day comes round we are in the presence of the dead. For one hour, twice a year at least--at the regimental dinner, where the ghosts sit at table more numerous than the living, and on this day when we decorate their graves--the dead come back and live with us.I see them now, more than I can number, as once I saw them on this earth. They are the same bright figures, or their counterparts, that come also before your eyes; and when I speak of those who were my brothers, the same words describe yours.
Today's music is not from those days. It was written in the 1980s, but is not only in a style that would be recognizable to the veterans of that war, but is inextricably tied to that era because Ken Burns used it as the theme to his TV series "The Civil War" - PBS' most-watched program ever. That series - and this music - is a fitting meditation on this weekend's Memorial Day holiday.