Remus had stayed on his own for this, staying far enough back from the group he could have the castle wall at his back. His hearing meant he still hadn't missed a word of what Harry said. It was...strange, having it pointed out that he'd died on this day forty years ago, an event that was still fifteen years in his future. Remus couldn't imagine he had done it with any sense of hesitation. As he'd told Peter, he would never pick one of his friends over the others to save. He would sacrifice himself first to save them all.
He remembered the smaller, private memorials that still seemed to be just a couple years ago for him. There had been a large memorial for James and Lily, of course. Once the celebratory atmosphere had dissipated and enough people had understood that the tiny baby the young man addressing them had been then was now an orphan, his parents -- both standing off to one side today -- had died to save him. Golden eyes closed briefly against the memory as Remus reminded himself they were now alive again.
Too many days like this, too many speeches about holding onto memories and living for those who had sacrificed, had been what finally pushed his grief-stricken self to leave the country. Memorials, he had decided then, were not for the lost, but for the survivors, much as he'd told Harry after Cassandra's death. It wasn't about remembering loved ones gone, but finding a reason for the living to continue on. But how many didn't have Harry Potter to remember their names? How many names were lost to time because they were simply living their lives despite the politicians and heroes around them?
Memorials were for the survivors, but they weren't for Remus. The speeches were nice tributes, but ultimately, the people were forgotten except by those who knew and cared for them most. He and Regulus had collected enough names, photos, and fragments of lives ended too soon for Remus to think speeches meant anything to the nameless dead.
Still, Remus could look around and see others besides James and Lily who he'd been there to mourn after the first war. Marlene was one, the loss of her entire family had been a huge blow to those in the Order. Peter, of course. He may have been the one to betray them, but two years ago all Remus had known was his friend was gone.
That thought led him to Sirius, the best friend he'd wanted to hate for betraying them, but had never truly been able to believe it. Remus thought he'd mourned the most for Sirius, taken away to Azkaban, as out of Remus' reach as surely as death had taken the others. But, there had been no closure, no chance to ask why. The world had said he was guilty. Remus' heart wouldn't believe it. Now that they were both alive and able to talk, that sense of loss should have faded. And, yet, Remus still feared he was going to lose his best friend now.
His gaze moved then, inevitably, to Regulus and he smiled softly. He hadn't known Regulus well enough to mourn his presumed death beyond the sadness of a young life lost and his friend's loss of a brother. It hadn't been until they all got their second chance that he'd gotten to know the younger Black brother well. It was strange how much Remus had come to care for him in just two and a half months. And, yet, he knew that Regulus was now one of those he would sacrifice himself to protect.
The same people Remus would die for were the reason he would live, now, and try to do better than before. People didn't live for faceless graves and lofty ideals, he thought. People lived for the people in their lives, the people that mattered to them.