He awoke in the morning and looked at the clock nervously, remembering the time that Jeffrey had appeared in his office, and realized that his daughter's funeral was scheduled for just about that time. It would be extremely awkward if they were to disappear in the middle of the services! The General quickly called the base pastor.
"Arthur," he explained, "something has arisen. We must bring my daughter's funeral forward, as I will have to leave on a mission before the services are concluded, and I want to be there."
The pastor hesitated a moment and then answered "Of course, General, I understand, the war and all. I will contact the radio station immediately and have them announce that the services have been brought forward. It would be nice if war would wait and let such things be concluded in peace. But of course war is never that obliging."
"No," the General agreed, "it never is! Thank you!"
He showered and got dressed. The family made their way to the funeral parlor and everybody came in, taking their places. The stately old pastor entered and looked about him.
"We are here," he began, "to mourn the loss of a beloved daughter and a devoted son, whose kindness and devotion to those they loved is beyond measure.. The tragedy of their loss effects us deeply. Our hearts are torn by our separation from them, and we ask God why, how could this have happened? How could men so hate that they could destroy two fine young people because of their ignorance? Some will say these young peoples' lives were wasted, but a wiser man than I has written these words in the midst of a similar situation, and I want to share them with you. 'The tragedy of a child lost young in life is perhaps one of the greatest tragedies that we can endure. Some will say this child's potential is lost, it never accomplished anything. It's journey through this world was fruitless. But I say to you, no, nay, never!
The potential of no child is ever lost. Every child fulfills its destiny, even though it may touch those around it for a few hours, or even a few minutes, that child has, for a time, brought love into the world. It was loved, and it gave love, and that love helped to sustain the world. Man, in their ignorance, may have cut short these young lives, they may have journeyed home long before they should've had, but their potential, their joy has not been lost.
We gave unto them, and they gave unto us. They were part of our hopes, they were part of our dreams. They were part of our destiny, and no one, NOTHING can take that away from us. Those among us who have survived will always carry the joy with us that they have given us, no matter how much the Darkness tries to destroy it, no matter how much the foul creatures of the night try to break our will and destroy our hopes, they will never take what these children have given us away from us! They will never, EVER succeed, no matter how much they try to beat us, no matter how much they try to break our joy, to break our faith, they cannot, because we know these precious ones have gone on to another Place and are now being cared for by gentle and loving hands and will be awaiting us when we pass through that veil of tears and enter into that that comes after. That or the Darkness that can destroy that that is without, they can break the flesh, they can tear us asunder, but they cannot destroy that which is within. They cannot extinguish The Light that has come into the world, that says these lives were not in vain. They will never, ever extinguish that truth! So must it be!" the pastor cried.
Everyone in the gathering answered "So must it be!" The pastor closed his book and came down from the pulpit.
"General Davis!" he asked, "Do you have some words about your daughter?
The General rose. "I will not take the pulpit," he announced, "it is not a warrior's place, but I thank our beloved pastor for his words. They could not have been better chosen! Men of Darkness have tried to destroy our souls, to keep us from doing what is right. I swear to God they will not succeed! They WILL NOT SUCCEED! My daughter loved, she did good for everyone around her. That will not be lost. I swear to God, that will not be lost! Thank you!"
The General sat down. "Mr. Ali," the pastor asked, "would you like to say some words about your son?"
The very dark man rose. "Living among warriors," he began, "my son always regretted that he could not be one because of the injuries he sustained in his youth. But he was always proud of the brave and courageous men that he worked around. That one of their daughters found him worthy of being her husband filled him with overwhelming pride, our good pastor has read inspiring words. They would have pleased my son because I do not think his life has been in vain. I thank all who were a part of it, I praise them! I praise them before God.
The wise man we spoke of was once asked 'How could a person of the Israeli faith, of the Jewish tradition forgive someone that was a Nazi, that was involved in the holocaust?' He answered thusly. 'I can forgive because I know my children will live forever and I think of the poor mothers of those who have hurt my children who know that their sons and their daughters will never live again, that they are lost forever. Being a mother I have to understand their sorrow and give their children hope, because I am a mother.' I could never understand how anyone could so forgive, but now I do. My son shall live forever. I pray that those who harmed him understand what they are doing to themselves, and save themselves. I will admit it is hard for me to feel this way. I would much rather damn them to hell, but I must think of their mother, I must! I thank you!"
The man sat down and those around him touched him in understanding. The pastor again took the podium. "Unfortunately one among us must be off to his duties. We would like to praise these young people for all the day and tell the world how much we love them. But the place is prepared where they shall lie forever, and we must take them to it, and bid them farewell, to see to it that there is never, ever another day like this. Let us take them forth!"