"From first to last, the civilizations of Middle-earth, whether these be the warrior-societies of Rohan and Gondor or the peaceable farming and trading communities that make up the Shire, are built up through remembrance and custom. It is a modern mistake to think that great personalities can grow without being rooted in the rich soil of the past, in the memory of great deeds and in fidelity to promises made across the generations. Civilization is founded on covenants that cannot be broken without consequence. The great army of the dead will fight to regain its honor in the service of the King."
The Power of the Ring: The Spiritual Vision Behind the Lord of the Rings, (p. 132) by Stratford Caldecott, The Crossroad Publishing Company, New York, NY, 2005
I cannot do the warmth, power, perception and beauty of Caldecott's book justice with my words, so I have used some of his words. A list of articles by Caldecott, his journal Second Spring, and his blog Beauty for Truth's Sake are linked for your edification and joy.