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To Absent Friends

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"The flame of the inn is dim tonight,
Too many vacant chairs.
The sun has lost too much of its light,
Too many songs have taken flight,
Too many ghosts on the stairs.
Charon, here's to you as man against man,
I wish I could pick 'em the way you can!"
Grantland Rice

Two or more characters gather to grieve for a dead comrade, without a formalized structure. They reminiscence about the fallen, how much he will be missed—or has been missed.

An actual wake is possible, as the bereaved can talk and drink without a ceremony to go through. Or they may meet somewhere, and talk. (They may not even intend to grieve, but they end up doing so.) A bar is likely, because the wake often involves alcohol—so often that it generally does not appear only if it is impossible. Expect the dead to be toasted. (Drowning My Sorrows may convert into this if the drinker bumps into another friend.) Sometimes the drink is poured on the ground as a Libation for the Dead. Sometimes the absent friends are represented by empty chairs.

Soldiers on a mission may start to talk, and lead to this, if they are waiting for something and have lost a comrade. (The situation in which alcohol is least likely to feature. But the Military Moonshiner may have some.)

The informal equivalent of a Meaningful Funeral. Possibly it immediately precedes or follows it, although that is unlikely, because the two scenes concentrate on the same emotions, and so are likely to duplicate. Also compare Personal Effects Reveal.

May also feature long after the death (or deaths) as characters remember all their dead and tell stories of them. The toast is often "To absent friends." This can overlap with Tell Me About My Father.

Suitable for a Bittersweet Ending or a Downer Ending, but can happen anywhere in a story—even as a Framing Device at the very beginning of a work that Starts with Their Funeral. Remembering the sacrifice may inspire characters to fight on, lest it have been a Senseless Sacrifice.

Contrast Forgotten Fallen Friend, Dead Guy Junior.

Death Trope. Spoilers follow.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Death Note when the real L, the Hero Antagonist dies, Light laughs on his grave, subverting this trope.
  • YuYu Hakusho.
    • Raizen's old comrades-in-arms gather at his grave with lots of sake and flowers in
    • Yusuke-the-ghost attending his own wake and witnesses this in the very first episode.
  • In Monster, Grimmer's grave gets a visit.
  • Maes Hughes' grave in Fullmetal Alchemist.
    • There is a scene in the 2003 anime adaptation where his widow comes to visit the grave, only to discover that someone else has already left flowers. Yes, Roy Mustang, we're looking at you.
  • When Wolfwood dies in the Trigun manga, he and Vash share a final drink while he goes in what effectively is his wake. Then, when Livio wakes up from healing the fight damage, Vash has made a vast quantity of spaghetti, and their spaghetti-eating is several symbolic things, including affirmation of life, signal of Vash's willingness to accept Livio, and meal in honor of Wolfwood. It is the saddest spaghetti ever.
    • Vash also pours a bottle of whiskey off an observation platform in the anime version of Inepril. Not even clear just who he's honoring, but it's probably the dead. He has a lot of them.
  • The end of Guilty Crown has this for Hare, who died seven episodes earlier. The final episode features the surviving cast sitting together at a table with a cake that says "Happy Birthday Hare" with an empty seat in front of it.
  • In the Maiden Rose Wheel of Fortune doujinshi Taki and Klaus go out into town to "mourn like soldiers" after the death of four of their comrades, although the focus is concentrated on Taki's personal reaction to the deaths rather than the fallen themselves.
  • In the ending credits of Hellsing OVA 5. Sir Irons walks to a grave at night with three cups, and a bottle of alcohol. It isn't quite Libation for the Dead, as he pours the three glasses at the head stone, and reminisces about the past (as a church choir sings), where he Pennington, and Arthur Hellsing were friends, and how they organized the fall of the Vampire oriented Nazi branch. He is alone because Pennington just died in the episode. In the end, the three glasses lie at the head stone, as the candle goes out (the only sound effect in the entire scene), revealing the headstone to be Arthur's.
  • In the end of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders after Jotaro and Joseph place the recently defeated DIO in the sunlight to disintegrate, Jotaro looks up to the sky and gives a small tribute as images of Kakyoin, Avdol and Iggy appear in the sky.
  • In Moriarty the Patriot, Mycroft Holmes and Louis James Moriarty discuss their lost brothers at the end of The Final Problem, although Louis insists he believes William to be alive somewhere. And he turns out to be right.

    Comic Books 
  • The focus of the first half of volume ten (appropriately titled the Wake) of The Sandman. Also invoked in "Season of Mists".
    Hob Gadling: To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each and every one of us always give the devil his due.
  • In The Mighty Thor, the army of Asgard (led by Thor and Balder) invade the underworld domain of Hela to free mortal souls imprisoned there. With the hordes of Hel in hot pursuit, it becomes clear that someone must stay behind to delay Hela's forces long enough for Thor's army to escape. Skurge the Executioner settles whether he or Thor will say You Shall Not Pass! (by knocking out Thor), and Skurge asks Balder to remember him with a toast when he and Thor return to Asgard. Later, when Thor and Skurge meet in Hel, Skurge asks if he and Balder had that drink, and Thor is grieved to have to tell him that crises have kept them too busy to do so. They later do.
  • This trope is the title to Chapter II in Watchmen, showing the funeral of the Comedian and how his attending colleagues remember him. Many of the flashbacks turn out to be important to the plot and the events surrounding his death. It is specifically a quote of the Elvis Costello song listed below.
  • The Rogues do this after one of their own is killed. They then have a "Rogue's Wake."
  • The epilogue to Kingdom Come shows Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman catching up on current events in a gaudy superhero themed restaurant called "Planet Krypton". At one point they toast their comrades who have passed on, with various drinking vessels evoking Green Lantern, The Flash, and Captain Marvel.
  • At the end of Nexus: Alien Justice, Horatio, Sundra, and Judah toast: "To absent friends and those still here. To justice, and home-brewed beer!" Something of a subversion, in that at least two of the friends they're toasting, Dave and GQ, are alive and well, just absent, and then GQ pops right back in just at that moment anyway.
  • Played with in Scott Pilgrim. Wallace toasts the trope name not because anyone is dead but because Scott's friends stood him up.

  • In Chronicles Of The Crusade, Sheridan, Garibaldi, Ivanova, Delenn, Vir and Franklin play this trope in the prologue.
  • In Eagle's Fall, the toast is used word for word by the surviving officers of Frank Company as the official surrender takes effect.
  • In the Total Drama story, Legacy, the final chapter has this mood after Heather reveals her gesture of remembrance.
  • In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Days Of Auld Lang Smurf", Papa Smurf makes a toast to the future on New Year's Eve and to his fellow Smurfs who were briefly "resurrected" for a time (though they were actually hallucinations brought upon them by a spell cast on them by Chlorhydris) until they vanished at the stroke of midnight.
  • The Star Trek Online Literary Challenge 68 fanfics "Remembrance of the Fallen" and "To Absent Friends" both deal with the Day of Remembrance, a minor Bajoran holy day dedicated to remembering the dead (it's based on the Latin American Day of the Dead). You leave food offerings of the deceased's favorites at their graveside and share stories about them with your friends and family. The latter fic also has the trope name as a toast offered to the forty-five names on the USS Bajor's memorial wall.
  • This Bites!: Just before the utter shitshow that they know is coming at Marineford, the Marine members of the New World Masons' leadership meet to discuss strategy and raise a toast to Cross for setting things in motion by reminding them what it means to be a decent Marine. While Cross isn't dead, he is at this point MIA because Kuma has banished him to the World Nobles' private Hellhole Prison.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Star Trek:
    • Played straight in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Kirk drops the trope name in a toast to Spock at the beginning of the scene in his apartment.
    • Also played straight in Star Trek: Nemesis after Data is killed while destroying the Scimitar to save the Enterprise.
    • Happens twice in Star Trek Beyond. First, the film begins a few days before Kirk's birthday, and McCoy pours himself and Kirk shots, and a third, representing Kirk's lost father who was killed saving him as he was born. They tap their shot glasses to the extra glass, then to each others'. Then, towards the end, at his surprise birthday party, Kirk offers the toast, "To the Enterprise. And to absent friends."
  • Théoden's heartfelt "Hail to the victorious dead!" speech in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, as the Rohirrim remember their fallen brethren after the Battle of Helm's Deep.
  • Subverted in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Frank proposes a toast "to absent friends." Unbeknownst to everyone but Frank (and possibly Riff-Raff and Magenta), they're dining on Eddie, whose remains are under the table. The line was later used in the booklet included with the 25th Anniversary DVD edition as a tribute to actor Charles Gray (The Criminologist), the only non-surviving cast member at the time of that release.
  • Parodied somewhat in About Schmidt, when the emotional ex-husband of Warren Schmidt's daughter's fiance's mother gets up to give a speech at the restaurant table. "If only my parents were with us today... but they are really here... right now... hi, Mom... hiya, pop..." Most of the family watches him give his speech, while Warren's head rolls around in meds-induced ecstasy.
  • Assassination: As the Korean government-in-exile guys celebrate the Japanese surrender in 1945, Provisional President of Korea Kim Koo and his lieutenant light some ceremonial shots and then share a toast to the resistance fighters who died fighting against Japan, 1910-1945.
  • The quiet reflection in Tia Dalma's hut in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, wherein the crew of the Black Pearl contemplate the death of Captain Jack Sparrow and the destruction of his ship due to the Kraken.
  • Die Hard with a Vengeance: When the bad guys are celebrating the successful theft, they're toasting to several things and then one says along the lines of "auf gefallen kameraden," which translates something like "for fallen comrades." There is a moment of silence and then they all toast in honor of their lost brethren.
  • Fifty Fifty (1992):
    • Subverted hilariously at the end of the movie. At the end of the climactic battle, Jake and Sam are both very badly wounded, but the crowds storming the palace are preventing Sprue from reaching them. The next scene is at an outdoor cafe in Rome, where Sprue, alone, has purchased three glasses of champagne. He lifts one and toasts Jake and Sam, saying "sorry you couldn't make it." Just as he's about to drink, Jake yells from off camera "Sprue, you rummy! You couldn't even wait for us?" He and Sam walk up, bandaged and on crutches, but otherwise fine. It turns out Sprue did wait for them, but they were forty-five minutes late.
    • Played straight later in that same scene, of course, when Jake and Sam remember Suleta, who really did die in the war.
  • During the V-E Day celebration scene in Captain America: The First Avenger, while most of London is celebrating the end of the war, the Howling Commandos are gathered in a pub. One says, "To the Captain," and they all solemnly drink to their (presumed) fallen comrade.
  • A variant in the Andrzej Wajda film Ashes and Diamonds: as a woman softly sings Czerwone Maki na Monte Cassino in the background, the two protagonists commemorate their friends who fell in the Warsaw Uprising by lighting shots of vodka on fire, before downing the last two drinks themselves. There's a lot of Reality Subtext in that scene: the film came out in 1958, when the Polish Communist government banned remembrance of the Uprising and the feats of the Polish Army in the West; the subjects are not outright discussed in the scene, but only alluded to, in order to get it past the censors.
  • Inverted at the end of Max Manus when the title character has an Imagine Spot of his fallen comrades in La Résistance drinking a toast to him. As they're not there, he goes on a bender instead until his Love Interest arrives to snap him out of it.
  • Kingsman: The Golden Circle has the Kingsman organization's Doomsday Protocol, where all remaining agents (in the context of the movie, Eggsy and Merlin) proceed to a certain location and retrieve... a bottle of Statesman whiskey. Eggsy and Merlin take it as a morbid joke and proceed to enact this trope. Then they realize that the whiskey is really good, and repeat it for every Kingsman they knew personally.
    Eggsy: Do you think we should do one for J.B.?
    Merlin: I think we should.
  • The Gravedancers: After the wake, Harris, Kira and Sid adjourn to a bar to remember Devon privately and celebrate his life.
  • The Cool World: Before the big fight with rival street gang the Wolves, one of the Royal Pythons pours out some wine in honor of "the boys upstate"—in prison, that is.
  • At the end of The Deer Hunter, after Nick's funeral, the group of friends goes back to the bar to have breakfast. They sing "God Bless America" in unison, then they raise their glasses, and Michael says, "Here's to Nick."

  • Subverted in an old joke about an Irishman (or other stereotypical hard drinker) who goes to a bar every week and orders a round of three drinks—one for himself and two for his brothers, who are alive but live far away. Each brother does this as a sort of long-distance show of kinship. One day he shows up and orders only two drinks—the bartender, fearing the worst, offers his sympathies but it turns out one of the brothers had just given up drinking.
    • In some versions it was him who decided to quit drinking.
    • Another version has his wife decide for him that he will quit drinking: but she neglects to tell his brothers to quit drinking as well.

  • In The Alice Network, Cameron and Eve meet up again after the war over a drink and reminisce about dead friends. Cameron talks about his recruits who have died.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novels:
    • In Only in Death, after Gaunt's apparent death, Larkin barges into Rawne's office, even though Rawne is the commander. They reminesce about their Founding and how few of them are left, whom Gaunt took off Tanith. Larkin proposes toast to "Old Ghosts"; Rawne, to "Staying alive"; and then, in unison, they toast "Ibram Gaunt."
    • In The Warmaster, Gaunt himself contemplates on tattooing the names of the dead into his back, in a sort of "Book of the Dead" tradition of the Tanith, in accordance to this trope. He decides against it, not so much because of the dress code violation, but rather because he doesn't have enough space for all that have fallen under his command.
  • The novelisation of Betrayal at Krondor ends with this in honour of Gorath, complete with a toast.
  • Happens in the book First To Fight by David Sherman and Dan Cragg, it pops up throughout the rest of the series as well. To be expected, in a military series.
  • Occurs in Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel Night Watch, where the members of the Revolution gather every year on the twenty-fifth of May to remember their comrades who were killed. When young Sam asks why old men would cry to hear the cheerful song "All the Little Angels", the older Vimes privately knows that it's because they remember who they aren't singing it with.
  • Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf series:
    • In William King's novel Ragnar's Claw, after Ragnar is gravely injured and Lars killed, Ragnar is too ill to attend the funeral. When he is well enough to stand, the other young Space Marine gather, and their first words are "To Lars."
    • In Lee Lightner's Wolf's Honour, Ragnar and Torin talk of Haegr at their last meeting.
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 novel Storm Of Iron, Leonid opens his first briefing by offering a toast to his predecessor. Later, alone in his office, he pours himself a glass and drinks "To Princeps Daekin." Captain Eshara joins him, and they exchange condolences over the deaths in their respective forces.
  • One of George MacDonald Fraser's McAuslan stories features an impromptu informal party with the narrator (a young officer) and a handful of his men. They use the old four-part toast to lost friends:
    "Here's tae us."
    "Wha's like us?"
    "Damn few."
    "And they're a' deid."
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Fairly common amongst New Republic fighter pilots, especially the Rogue and Wraith squadrons of the X-Wing Series. Notably, whenever the Wraiths do it, somebody is obliged to make a smartass remark. For example, the end of Iron Fist, after Face has been released from the medical ward:
      Runt: Face cannot drink yet, but we can drink to him.
      Janson: And to Ton Phanan and Castin Donn.
      Dia: And to scars you can peel off whenever you no longer need them.
      Face: And to—
      Dia: And to friends who don't try to fool you all the time.
      Face: Dia, this is Wraith Squadron. You're never going to have that.
    • In Dark Rendezvous, Yoda loses both of the Jedi Knights traveling with him to an ambush, forcing their Padawans to continue the mission alone with him. As soon as they get a moment of peace, Yoda arranges a meal and a (non-alcoholic) toast in honor of the fallen Knights.
  • John Ringo and David Weber have this as pretty much the toast whenever characters drink. Often the reason why people drink in the first place. Their joint series, Prince Roger, has this in spades.
  • David Weber manages a particularly vicious subversion of this in Echoes of Honor, when Honor's mother's pregnancy has been announced and that therefore Honor's sibling will succeed her as Steadholder Harrington. Admiral Yanakov asks to make a toast. One expects this trope to be invoked, and is instead given: "Your Grace, My Lords and Ladies, Ladies and Gentlemen all, I give you Steadholder Harrington....and damnation to the Peeps!"
  • In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files novel Turn Coat, Morgan is officially denied a Meaningful Funeral as part of the coverup. They resort to an impromptu wake instead.
  • Locke Lamora practices the Camorri tradition of "pouring a glass to air," setting out a drink for a friend who's gone—whether that means dead, or simply long absent.
  • In Robert E. Howard's "Beyond the Black River", Conan the Barbarian and the sole survivor of the fort discuss the deaths at the end, particularly Valannus and Balthus.
  • The first book of the Invasion cycle in the Magic: The Gathering books ends with this. The united forces of Dominaria have dealt a mighty defeat to the invading Phyrexians, and there's a massive celebration. But three men sit apart: Urza, who lost longtime friend Barrin, Gerrard, who lost his love Hanna, and Agnate, who dealt a Mercy Kill to his "brother" and comrade Thaddeus.
  • In a few of his Callahan's Crosstime Saloon books, Jake and the gang deliver what they call the "All-Purpose Toast"; "Here's to all those who weren't as lucky."
  • A toast is drunk to the deceased tenth Earl of Strathcairn in Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue Sea. The villagers have great respect for him, and the digging of his grave unearthed the treasure that allowed to islanders to not only save their community, but also prosper there.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the surviving members of the Order of the Phoenix drink a toast to Mad-Eye Moody when they hear that he was killed while moving Harry from Privet Drive to The Burrow.
  • Never Wipe Tears Without Gloves: Every year at Christmas the main characters toast to absent friends. They even say those exact words in English, even though the story takes place in Sweden.
  • Halo:
    • Halo: Glasslands has an early scene where a pair of UNSC Marines travel to Sydney, Australia to have a drink in memory of a friend who died in the Covenant War. They find that the bar they'd planned to meet at took a direct hit during the fighting on Earth, and end up borrowing some booze from the construction workers clearing the debris.
    • In Halo: New Blood, Buck asks Jun to drink with him in memory of the Rookie.
  • Lieutenant Harsmith, the main character of Invasion of Kzarch, performs this ritual twice, once in memory of his lost platoon seargent, and another one later for all the men he had lost.
  • Star Trek Novel Verse: Upon the return of the Enterprise from her 5-year mission, the crew begins to applaud Kirk. He stops it with the admonition, "Not for me. For those who didn't make it back with us," and leads the crew in a round of solemn applause.
  • The Hunger Games: The book that Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch create at the end of Mockingjay. Also the "We Remember" propo series.

    Live Action TV 
  • 'Allo 'Allo!. Played for laughs when Rene lights a candle in memory of his mistress Maria Recamier, only to unceremoniously blow it out seconds later. In fairness she had been accidentally mailed to Switzerland rather than being killed.
  • In Boardwalk Empire Jimmy and Richard, both WW 1 veterans, share a toast "To the lost".
  • In one episode of M*A*S*H, Colonel Potter acts oddly. At the end, he reveals that he and some comrades had found some cognac in an abandoned French chateau during World War I, saved the last bottle, and declared that the last survivor would drink a toast to the rest. Potter is now that last survivor, and invites the MASH staff to hear his story and share the bottle.
    • In another episode, Potter believes his pet mare Sophie has run away for good. He pours a drink for Radar and himself, then offers up the trope-naming toast.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003):
    • This trope, like many others, is perfected to an art form. It's played quite frequently in the Viper rec room, especially. Apollo's retirement toast is an awesome example of the trope, involving five shots of a potent drink—quite possibly eau de flight deck.
      Apollo: To Galactica! [takes a first shot amidst cheers]
      To the men and women of Galactica! [takes a second shot, amidst more cheers]
      To the Admiral... [murmurs of approval] who commands the men and women of Galactica! [takes the third shot, to cheers of approval]
      To our sweethearts, husbands, and wives! [downs the fourth shot, amidst the cheers of the previous toast. He then waits for the room to settle before delivering the final toast]
      [quietly] To absent friends. [the room respectfully falls silent]
    • There's a great one in the season two episode "Scar," where Starbuck (at the celebration of the new "top gun" pilot that unseated her) tries to toast all the deceased pilots by name/callsign. This one is especially moving given that she had earlier claimed that she didn't remember any of their names and didn't care to because they were dead and gone so who cares…
      Starbuck: To BB, Jo-Jo, Reilly, Beano, Dipper, Flat Top, Chuckles, Jolly, Crashdown, Sheppard, Dash, Flyboy, Stepchild, Puppet, Fireball... [stops, crying]
      Apollo: To all of 'em.
      Admiral Adama: So say we all.
      Crew: So say we all.
      Starbuck: So say we all.
  • NewsRadio had one of these episodes for Phil Hartman's character after Phil's real-life death. Despite the attempts of the writers to inject some humor into the scene, it fell painfully flat, as the cast was barely holding it together.
  • Sesame Street. While explaining Mr. Hooper's death, and what it means, to Big Bird, the adult characters share stories through tears about who he was and what he meant to them.
  • Rescue Me does this fairly frequently (particularly the transition from Drowning My Sorrows), especially with respect to the firemen lost on 9/11 (a recurring theme, if not the central one of the show).
  • At the end of Torchwood episode "Captain Jack Harkness", Jack and Tosh have a toast "To Captain Jack" in honor of the war hero whose identity Jack appropriated.
  • In the final episode of Babylon 5 Sheridan invites his surviving friends to have dinner with him one last time. He then invokes the trope by name, and they name absent friends to toast to. Garibaldi names G'Kar, Vir names Londo, Delenn names Lennier, and Dr. Franklin and Ivanova name Marcus.
  • The West Wing episode "Requiem" combines this with the Meaningful Funeral to provide a heartfelt (and Tear Jerker) send-off to Leo McGarry and, by extension, his actor John Spencer. Combined very effectively with the Meaningful Funeral at the beginning of the episode; the funeral is presented so as to mourn Leo's death (and Spencer's), whereas the wake is about celebrating his life and how much his friends loved him.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In "Relics", the Enterprise crew finds Scotty preserved in a transporter beam for over seventy years. As the events of the episode wear down on Scotty, he takes a private moment alone in a holodeck simulation of the original Enterprise, where he toasts to his now-gone comrades.
    Scotty: Here's to ye, lads.
    • Picard then joins him and they share a toast, this time to absent ships—the original Enterprise for Scotty, and the Stargazer (his first assignment as a captain) for Picard.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • In the episode "The Sound of Her Voice", the crew of the Defiant holds a wake for Lisa Cusak, which ends with Miles O'Brien making a speech. Made even more moving by the fact that this is the very end of the episode before Jadzia's death, arguably the first true main cast kill outside of the films.
      O'Brien: The war changed us... pulled us apart... I want my friends in my life, because someday we're going to wake up and we're going to find that someone is missing from this circle. On that day, we're going to mourn, and we shouldn't have to mourn alone.
    • Done more lightheartedly when Julian and O'Brien come off the holodeck dressed as Spitfire pilots, and raise a pint of bitter "To Clive!"
    • "Strange Bedfellows" features a sarcastic one after Weyoun 7 is killed: Damar (who always hated him) toasts him when Weyoun 8 shows up, while making jokes about his death.
  • The closing scene of "The Breaking Point" in Band of Brothers has Sgt. Lipton narrating while he and the rest of Easy Company are resting in a church. He begins listing off the casualties they suffered over the course of the Battle of the Bulge and the corresponding soldiers start fading away until the church looks far emptier than it did before. It's a particularly heart-rending scene.
  • The Pacific does this as well in episode 3, with Basilone and Morgan ordering about a dozen different drinks and toasting their dead friend Rodriguez, and even getting into a fight with another patron who makes a tactless comment.
  • CSI: NY has done this twice, first for Aidan Burn near the end of the second season, and then for Jessica Angell at the end of the fifth season.
  • In the finale for Space: Above and Beyond, Wang gives one of these, listing every Wildcard to die during the show's run, as part of the Battle Cry that he gives during his Last Stand to cover the escape of the ship carrying the rescued colonists.
  • The Freddie Frinton sketch Dinner for One, which is shown every New Year's Eve on German, Austrian and Swiss TV.
  • In Angel season 5, when Cordelia returns, she and Angel watch Doyle's video and talk about him.
  • The final scene of Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter has the three surviving friends raising a toast to the memories of Friedhelm and Greta.
  • Never Wipe Tears Without Gloves: Every year at Christmas the main characters toast to absent friends. They say those exact words in English, though the rest of the dialogue is in Swedish.
  • In the TV miniseries version of The Stand Nadine toasts "To new acquaintances," and Harold replies "And absent friends." It's just after the end of the world, so that description includes a lot of people.
  • Person of Interest. At the end of "Provenance", Team Machine are sitting round a table having a drink. Reese pours an extra glass for Joss Carter.
  • In the penultimate episode of Spartacus, the rebellion holds a funeral for Crixus, and Spartacus leads them all in a tribute to all their fallen friends, not just from the war, but all those murdered by the Romans. He caps it off with one final toast to Crixus, the undefeated Gaul.

  • Country Music has many tributes to American veterans; "The Eighth of November" describes the life of a Sole Survivor from a horrific battle in The Vietnam War. The last verse deals with themes of PTSD and describes the character's yearly ritual:
    He puts on a suit over his Airborne tatoo
    And he ties it on one time a year
    He remembers the fallen as he orders a tall one
    And swallows it down with his tears...
  • Elvis Costello alludes to this trope in his song "The Comedians" (Roy Orbison's version might be better known for some):
    And I'm up while the dawn is breaking
    Even though my heart is aching, I
    Should be drinking a toast to absent friends
    Instead of these comedians
  • Opeth has a song titled "For Absent Friends".
  • As do Genesis, on their Nursery Cryme album. It is Phil Collins' lead vocal debut with Genesis, on the first record he recorded with the band, five years before he became the band's full-time lead singer. The Opeth song is actually named after the Genesis song.
  • "Kak zdorovo" ("How great it is"; often referred to by its entire refrain—"How great it is that we have all gathered here today") by Oleg Mityaev is probably the most popular campfire song in the former USSR. Its third verse is a dedication to the memory of absent friends, perhaps deliberately invoking the third toast tradition mentioned in the Real Life section below.
  • Turisas – "One More"
  • Lunasa has a song called "Absent Friends," and it invokes the feeling of this trope rather well. It begins slowly and mournfully, as a gathering of friends remembering their fallen would be. Midway through, however, the tempo picks up notably, perhaps as a way of saying "Our absent friends wouldn't want us to mourn forever, so lets knock one back, for them!"
  • Saxon, a Heavy Metal band, has a song named "To Absent Friends", written in honour of a deceased friend.
  • New Zealand alt-rock band The Chills mentions a "vanished friend" in "I Love My Leather Jacket."
  • "Sitting Up with the Dead" by Ray Stevens is about a wake gone humorously awry.
  • "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and "Wish You Were Here" are all about Syd Barrett's absence and departure from Pink Floyd, and how they miss him.
  • Adam Sandler's song "Farley" is a tribute to his good friend and Saturday Night Live co-star Chris Farley. Adam recalls their time on SNL, their friendship, and then Chris' funeral. Adam then sings directly to Chris, telling him that his works still make people laugh and that he still misses him after all these years.
  • Gorillaz did a meta remembrance to the late Tony Allen — acclaimed Afrobeat codifier and longtime friend to Gorillaz cofounder Damon Albarn — by releasing a collaborative track, "How Far?", vastly ahead of schedule shortly after his death in April 2020. The accompanying artwork in the music video depicts the fictional bandmates all expressing their farewells.

  • Garrison Keillor describes one of these on his show, A Prairie Home Companion. The old coots go out for the opening day of duck hunting season. There they are in the blind, and they have a toast for fallen comrades. The guy only gets a few names into the list before he breaks down. The unspoken sentiment is that there are now so many names, and it'd be disrespectful to forget any, so maybe it's time to give up on listing them all.

  • The meal scene in Journey's End after Osbourne dies. Possibly a subversion in that they're trying to forget about it rather than remember him.
  • The songs "Drink With Me" and "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" in Les Misérables fall into this trope. In the first, the students at the barricade are toasting each other's impending fate the night before the penultimate battle; in the second, Marius is reminiscing about those who fell at the barricade.
  • In Shakespeare's Macbeth, this trope is subverted as in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Macbeth proposes a toast to everyone's "general joy" and "to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss; Would he were here!" Unbeknownst to the guests, Banquo has been murdered and his ghost has returned to haunt Macbeth.
  • Referenced by the revolutionary soldiers in Hamilton: "We're gonna fly a lot of flags half-mast (Raise a glass!)"
    • And then the Dark Reprise of "The Story of Tonight", "Tomorrow There'll Be More Of Us", is John Laurens doing this to himself as the Hamiltons read the letter containing the news of his death.
    • The beginning of the finale, "Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story" is this for Hamilton, as Jefferson and Madison list his accomplishments. It quickly expands into the other fallen members of the cast as Eliza tells how she plans to honor Hamilton's legacy: recording the stories of revolutionary soldiers (upon which Laurens and Mulligan reappear), she commissions the Washington monument to honor George Washington (who is also dead by this point), she fights for abolition (carrying on the work of Hamilton and Laurens), and she founds an orphanage for orphans like Hamilton himself.
  • The song "Alabanza" for Abuela Claudia in In the Heights. Just after Kevin begins spreading the news that she has passed, Usnavi, still reeling, delivers the coroner's report and an impromptu eulogy to the others in the barrio. They then join in raising her memory to God (because, as Usnavi points out, alabanza, her favorite word, means "to raise this thing to God's face"). It's very much a Tear Jerker moment.

    Video Games 
  • At the end of Jak II, Samos toasts to the members of the Underground who died in order to help save the city.
  • Both named and unnamed characters will participate in a small but significant battle in Dragon Age: Origins. The cut scene which follows will vary according to which named characters fell in the battle.
  • After the quest "All that Remains" in which Leandra dies in Dragon Age II, Aveline will ask how Hawke is feeling in her office. After recounting how her own father died, Aveline will offer a drink to Hawke. Hawke can propose a toast to those they have lost.
  • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, Varric and the Inquisitor will do this after the end of the Grey Warden arc, though it's played the most straight if Hawke was the one killed, with a devastated Varric recounting an amusing story reflecting that Hawke's personalityall while trying to hold himself together.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Commander Shepard can do this in Mass Effect 2 when drinking with Doctor Chakwas.
    • In Mass Effect 3, several characters do this as the body count climbs.
    • Tali actually gets plastered while mourning Miranda, if the latter doesn't survive Sanctuary. This happens even if she does survive, in which case Tali drowns her sorrows regarding their different sorts of Daddy Issues. (Dialog suggests this is the real reason even if the other is dead; toasting her was just something Tali thought of while highly drunk. They weren't on the best of terms.)
  • The ending cinematic for Legend of Dragoon shows Dart placing a mug next to a picture of Lavitz.
  • Some NPCs in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. will occasionally be heard toasting fallen comrades.
    NPC: Let's drink to him once more, he was a good stalker.
  • Used in Final Fantasy V. The music track playing in the following scene after the final battle, regardless of any deaths or who survived, is called "Dear Friends." "To My Dearest Friend" is a fan translation of the song, and what helps it fit. Subverted at the end, though, as the dead princesses and Bartz all come back to life. Galuf remains dead, though.
  • This is the entire theme of Tomb Raider Chronicles, which consists of vignettes and flashbacks to Lara's exploits before her presumed death in Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation. The game even ends with a toast and this quote.

    Western Animation 
  • Seen on the Justice League animated series, "Hereafter", when Superman apparently dies. After the Meaningful Funeral, the League gathers on the Watchtower, laughing and drinking, uh, orange juice, while wearing black armbands and sharing stories. Then Lobo shows up.
  • Futurama: "Leela, we may not have much time left, so let's spend all of it reminiscing about Bender. He was like a big computer that ran on magic."
  • Crackle and Pop on Family Guy toast Snap, who fell in the Keebler Elves attack.
  • Used twice in Young Justice in the wake of Artemis's "death." Many of the male members of the Team find themselves at a tribute for fallen heroes, including the first Blue Beetle, Aquagirl, and the second Robin. Meanwhile, the female members go to a bridal shower, which becomes bitter-sweet due to the empty seat. They even toast "To absent friends!"
  • Sealab 2021: The episode "Dearly Beloved Seed" begins with Shanks mourning the tragic deaths of all his brothers, which leads him to realize it's up to him to carry on the Shanks name, kicking off the plot.

    Real Life 
  • "To Absent Friends" is a real toast offered at military banquets. In particular, it is the traditional toast for Sunday night in Commonwealth navies. At some banquets, it is illustrated literally by having an empty table set aside and specially decorated in memory of POW/MIA's.
  • At least one Golden Corral restaurant keeps one small table always decorated in the military tradition, with an explanation posted of each symbolic part of the table. It's touching and refreshing, oddly, all at once, to see such a memorial setting put out in the eye of the general public.
  • In Russia, the obligatory third toast, as long as the company drinking contains at least a substantial minority of Army or Air Force men, both active and retired. The naval version has this as the second toast; the third one is for those who are at sea, so the toasters don't know whether they are alive or dead.
  • In Santa Rosa, at the Charles Schultz Museum [1] there is a table still set for him at the adjacent Warm Puppy cafe. People are welcome to sit there, and share his favorite space.
  • Almost all Roleplayers start the first session after a player dies (not a character, a player) with the phrase "To absent friends; let the adventure continue."
  • There is a set of eighty silver goblets that have been reserved for this purpose. Upon each of them is engraved the name of one of the men who flew on the Doolittle Bombing Raid of 1942. With it is a bottle of 1896 (The year of James Doolittle's birth) brandy. This bottle was intended to be opened by the last two survivors of that mission to toast those that have gone before them. With only four men left, all of whom were in their mid-nineties and in failing health, they decided to open the bottle together in 2013.
  • From the seldom-heard bridge of the United States Air Force Song:
    Here's a toast to the host
    Of those who love the vastness of the sky.
    To a friend we send a message of his brother men who fly.
    We drink to those who gave their all of old
  • Much like the Schultz Museum example, GaryCon (an old-school role-playing game convention held yearly in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, the adopted hometown of Gary Gygax and the birthplace of TSR and Dungeons & Dragons) has a table display set out in honor of Gygax, which is laid out with first-edition AD&D books and DM's screen as if Gary had just stepped away for a moment from the game.


Video Example(s):


Remembering Screech

The original Saved by the Bell gang reunite to remember their deceased classmate (and honor the late Dustin Diamond).

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / InMemoriam

Media sources: