Friday, June 14, 2024

The Arrow And The Song

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong
That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.

-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882), American poet, "The Arrow and the Song" (1845)

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Any Eyes

We may try to see things as objectively as we please.  None the less, we can never see them with any eyes except our own.

-- Benjamin Nathan Cardozo (1870 - 1938), long-time Justice of the Court of Appeals of New York, appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States in 1932, The Nature of the Judicial Process (1921) Pages 12-13

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

A Series Of Judgements

Life is made up of a series of judgments on insufficient data, and if we waited to run down all our doubts, it would flow past us.

-- Learned Hand (1872 - 1961), American judge and judicial philosopher, "On Receiving an Honorary Degree" (1939)

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Not More Zealous

Men are not more zealous for truth than they often are for error, and a sufficient application of legal or even of social penalties will generally succeed in stopping the propagation of either.

-- John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873), English political philosopher and economist who was an advocate of utilitarianism, On Liberty (1859) Chapter II, Of The Liberty Of Thought And Discussion

Monday, June 10, 2024

So Many Truths

Out of patriotism -- which can be respected as long as it remains in the domain of sentiment and art on exactly the same footing as the sense of family and local pride, all equally sacred -- out of patriotism they make a Utopian and impracticable idea, unbalancing the world, a sort of cancer which drains all the living force, spreads everywhere and crushes life, a contagious cancer which culminates either in the crash of war or in the exhaustion and suffocation of armed peace.

They pervert the most admirable of moral principles.  How many are the crimes of which they have made virtues merely by dowering them with the word "national"?  They distort even truth itself.  For the truth which is eternally the same they substitute each their national truth.  So many nations, so many truths; and thus they falsify and twist the truth.

-- Henri Barbusse (1873 - 1935), French novelist and journalist, Under Fire (1916) Ch. 24 - The Dawn

Friday, June 07, 2024

RIP Bill Anders

That photograph, shared globally and always in the public domain, has since served to educate and inspire: The Earth we saw rising over the battered grey lunar surface was small and delicate, a magnificent spot of color in the vast blackness of space.  Once-distant places appeared inseparably close.  Borders that once rendered division vanished.  All of humanity appeared joined together on this glorious-but-fragile sphere.

-- William Alison Anders (17 October 1933 - 7 June 2024), former American astronaut, who flew as Lunar Module Pilot for the Apollo 8 mission (although no lunar module was carried by the mission), the first mission where humans traveled beyond Low Earth orbit, "50 Years After 'Earthrise,' a Christmas Eve Message from Its Photographer" Space.com (24 December 2018)

Thursday, June 06, 2024

Go And Remember

We know the dark forces that these heroes fought against 80 years ago.  They never fade.  Aggression and greed, the desire to dominate and control, to change borders by force -- these are perennial.  And the struggle between a dictatorship and freedom is unending. 

To surrender to bullies, to bow down to dictators is simply unthinkable.  Were we to do that, it means we'd be forgetting what happened here on these hallowed beaches. 

Make no mistake:  We will not bow down.  We will not forget. 

Let me end with this.  History tells us freedom is not free.  If you want to know the price of freedom, come here to Normandy.  Come to Normandy and look.  Go to the other cemeteries in Europe where our fallen heroes rest.  Go back home to Arlington Cemetery. 

Tomorrow, I will pay respects at Pointe du Hoc.  Go there as well and remember: The price of unchecked tyranny is the blood of the young and the brave. 

In their generation, in their hour of trial, the Allied forces of D-Day did their duty.  

-- Remarks by President Biden Commemorating the 80th Anniversary of D-Day, Collevile-sur-Mer, France (6 June 2024)