Jim's Flames Speech

My friends, we stand here today not in fear of death, but in determination to live. . . symbolizing an end as well as a beginning. . .signifying renewal as well as change for we swear today before All People the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly two millennia ago: that we will stand, and preserve, and defend.

The world is very different now, for the bonds that once united us have frayed and weakened. And yet the same beliefs for which our forebears fought still exist throughout the Linked Worlds. . .the belief that All People have the right to exist, to live in peace; that there are rights which belong to every person regardless of race or creed; that united, we may overcome obstacles so great they threaten our very existence. We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of those who have stood in our place before.

Let the word go forth from this time and place. . .to friend and foe alike. . that the torch has been passed to a new generation. . . born in this time, tempered by war, disciplined by hard and bitter struggles, proud of our ancient heritage. . .and unwilling to witness or permit the quick undoing of all that we have built.

Let every planet know. . .whether it wishes us well or ill. . . that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of life and liberty for All People. This much we pledge. . .and more.

For united. . .there is little we cannot do. Divided. . .there is little we can do. . .for we dare not meet a powerful challenge, at odds, and split asunder.

Let all the Linked Worlds know that we shall join with them to oppose those forces which would seek their destruction or subversion. . .and let every planet know that this alliance of peoples intends to remain the master of its own house.

So from today let us begin anew. . . Let all of us explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us. Let all sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the creation of peace among all planets. . . and to shield against the absolute power to destroy all sentience. Together let us explore the stars, free the oppressed, eradicate disease, conquer poverty, and encourage civil life.

And if this beachhead of co-operation may push back the jungle of suspicion. . . let all sides join in creating not a new balance of power. . . but a new world of law. . .where the strong are just. . . and the weak secure. . .and the peace preserved. . . .

All this will not be finished in the first days after today. Nor will it be finished in the first zed. . . nor even perhaps in our lifetimes. But let us begin. Let this be the beginning.

In our hands, my fellow citizens, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since the Hegemony was founded, each generation has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young citizens who answered the call to service occupy all worlds. Now the trumpet summons us again... not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need. . .not as a call to battle... though embattled we are. . .but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle. . .year in and year out, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation. . .a struggle against the enemies of us all: those who seek our conquest... those who seek our destruction... those who seek our enslavement... and the Flames themselves. Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance. . . Inworlds and Outworlds. . . Red and Blue. . .that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?

In the long history of the universe, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending sentience in its hour of maximum danger. We do not shrink from this responsibility. . . we welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our planets and all who serve them. . .and the glow from that fire will truly light the worlds more than any Flames.

Let us go forth to save the lands we love, asking for blessing and for help, but knowing that now this work must truly be our own.

We don't do this for the glory.
We don't do this for the recognition.
We do it because it needs to be done.
Because if we don't, no-one else will.
And we do it even if no-one knows what we've done.
Even if no-one knows that we exist.
Even if no-one remembers that we ever existed.