They live, though they have died



They live, though they have died


Eulogy published in The People





One newspaper cutting


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[Insertion] THE PEOPLE [/Insertion]
Everyday Cameos
[Insertion] 21 [Missing date] [/insertion]
They Live, Though They Have Died
He wrote me a little note saying how much he liked these articles of mine. Next day he was dead.
He was twenty-nine. He had lived but a day, had hardly begun to live, in fact…..and now he was dead.
For ten years he had borne pain and discomfort and agony, and throughout he had smiled and made others smile, and brought a little happiness to a world sadly in need of it.
He never moaned. He never grumbled. He never railed at the fate which had dealt him such a rotten hand in this card game we call life. Uncomplainingly, courageously, beautifully, he had lived, and quietly, quietly, he had died.
Did I say he was dead? He still lives on. In the hearts and the minds of those who knew him he lives on even now. [sic] on earth.
Someone smiles and I see Dave smiling; someone cracks a joke, and it is Dave’s joke; they play hot music and I see Dave grinning and swaying to the rhythm and the swing; I see a flash of white teeth, an eyebrow lift quizzically, hear a full-throated laugh, a popular tune being hummed, and I know Dave will never die in my mind nor in the hearts of the people with whom he came in contact.
For some day, ten, twenty years from now someone will do something. some little thing, and it will be Dave’s way of doing it, and Dave dead will be Dave alive, if not in self then in semblance.
And his words, his thoughts, his gestures, will travel round the world finding resting places in many, and even those who never knew him will carry something of him in their lives.
For the man dies, but mankind lives on; the poet perishes, but poetry continues to sing; the painter hangs his brushes for the last time, but portraits remain to attract the eye of the connoisseur; footsteps fade away on the long and never-ending road of time, but the road goes on and on….in heaven [italics] and [/italics] on earth he will find his immortality, and the young man of twenty-nine will not have lived in vain.
But some day, somehow, these things shall not be. Young men will not die before they have begun to live; wars will not bring suffering and despair and death to millions; epidemics will not stifle little babies in their cradles; poverty will not engulf the multitude.
Some day, somehow, it is all going to be very different, and everyone shall have a fair and reasonable chance of a fair and happy life.
And when that day comes the death of a young man will plunge millions into mourning and the whole world shall stand in silence if a babe dies.
And those who are alive and have strength must fight on until life becomes worth living not only for themselves but for everyone everywhere, until the Daves of this world do not any more, die before their time.
And this is a fight that is really worth while. And those who fight it will have unseen millions, living dead, fighting with them and spurring them on to grander, nobler deeds.



Ralph L Flinn, “They live, though they have died,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 20, 2024,

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