May 2, 1998. The day that Voldemort was defeated and Fred Weasley, Remus and Nymphadora “Tonks” Lupin, Severus Snape, Colin Creevey and over fifty more lost their lives. We celebrate the end of this utter evil, but mourn these losses which were caused by the cruelty and evil of Voldemort.
All these people died for different personal reasons, yet fought for a common goal: Fred fought for laughter to remain in this world, Remus and Tonks died so their son could grow up in a world free of evil, Colin died a true Gryffindor death. Severus fought for the same cause the man who gave him a second chance did, and lost his life protecting the man whom he hated because his mother was the one he had always loved. Every one of them sought to bring an end to an evil and inhuman tyrant, and thanks to their sacrifices, he was defeated.
The deaths at the Battle of Hogwarts serve as a reminder of the tragic losses sustained over the years of Voldemort’s reign. James and Lily Potter, Frank and Alice Longbottom, Gideon and Fabian Prewett, Frank Bryce, Cedric Diggory, Sirius Black, Amelia Bones, Emmaline Vance, Albus Dumbledore, Charity Burbage, Hedwig, Alastor Moody, Rufus Scrimgeour, Ted Tonks, Dobby and countless others. Everyone one of these people died to protect the freedom of the Wizarding world and to stop Voldemort at all costs.
It is the greatest tragedy of war, that those we love and hold dear are taken prematurely from us. We often think these deaths are in vain, but they are not. Without their incredible sacrifice, wars cannot be won. Their deaths are even more significant because they died fighting for something in which they believed so strongly.
So yes, we mourn these losses because of the terrible tragedy that surrounded them, but their memory and spirit will always be preserved in our hearts and minds as courageous, loyal, kind, beautiful, flawed humans who we grew to know and love.
However, this is not just a day for mourning. It is a day for celebrating. It is the day that Voldemort, a villain who was at large for decades, who murdered countless Witches, Wizards, Muggles, Squibs, Goblins and other beings, and created a reign of terror so great that people did not speak his name years after he was gone, was defeated by a man—a boy—of seventeen armed only with immense courage, boundless love and a borrowed wand. We do not celebrate the death of a man, for Voldemort was not a man, we celebrate the downfall of an inhuman monster, and mourn the loss of the man he once was and could have been.
Yet, it was not just Harry who defeated Voldemort and his death eaters. It was the combined efforts of Harry, Ron, Hermione, the Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore’s Army and many others who ended Voldemort’s reign. We celebrate this victory, this unity and this sheer and utter need to end the tyranny that had plagued the Wizarding world for decades.
We celebrate the courage, the overcoming of fear, the loyalty, the sacrifice, the nerve of those who fought for freedom. We celebrate the fact that there are good people in the world who give up everything for the good of the rest of the humanity.
It is a beautiful thing indeed that these heroes risked and sacrificed their lives so that a new generation of children could grow up with the knowledge of evil, but not the fear. This battle ushered in a new era of peace, a time of rest before the inevitable continuation of the battle against evil. “It is important to fight, and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then can evil be kept at bay, though never quite eradicated.”
And people may say that our love of Harry Potter is ridiculous because it’s just a story. But that is wrong. Harry Potter has become much, much more than a story. We have learned that we must continue to strive for freedom and peace, to fight against evil and tyranny. We have learned from the sacrifices and choices of characters that have become more than characters. They have changed from storybook characters to people, real friends who we love with our whole being. We have grown up with them, learning as they do. Getting to know and developing relationships with these people over seven books and seventeen years makes us feel as though we really know them. We mourn and remember their deaths and celebrate and rejoice in their living. Harry and his friends are real to us; they are our second parents, brothers, sisters, mentors, teachers and friends. For some of us they are our closest companions. We love them with all