Wednesday, February 5, 2003
In Times of Peace
By Nathaniel P. Conrey, For The Daily Republican
taking no chances when you assert that Americans usually make good
soldiers. They are truly a warlike race. They are not eager for
war, but they are eager and earnest in war.
No decent citizen of the United States doubts
that for the preservation of the honor of our country it became
necessary for us to strike back at Germany because she made hostile
invasion upon rights which we were bound to maintain. Every intelligent
man knows that we are now fighting to save the liberty-loving peoples
of the earth from mastery by a tyrannous and brutal power.
The opportunity to fight as a soldier for
freedom, which now presents itself to every physically fit voting
man in our country, is strongly attractive to all of them who have
the right kind of blood in their veins.
To the man who would be accepted for service
in the Army or Navy of the United States, and who has no more imperative
duty at home, but who seeks to evade that service because the call
finds no response in his miserable soul, I have nothing to say.
I would not know how to talk to him in language fit for print.
But it must be recognized that in addition
to women and children and invalids and old men, there are also many
young men who cannot go to the war at all, and also many others
for whom the time has not yet come. In the hearts of all of these
young men there is a feeling of sadness and regret with which we
must have a genuine sympathy.
It is to such young men that I would like
to speak a few words concerning our opportunities at home.
This is a war which calls for the loyal service and devotion of
every man, woman and child in the entire nation. There is some kind
of service which each one can perform. Every individual whose heart
is right will find something to do.
In the broadest sense of the word, we are
all in the service. Each one who meets the demands of the hour in
the way that most nearly comes home to him may feel that really
he is in and part of the great struggle.
The first and important duty for each and
all of us who are behind the lines is, that by all means in our
power, we encourage the sentiment of devotion to our government
and to the cause which it is pledged tos ustain. We
must not listen patiently to anything which savors of aid and comfort
to the enemy. United in courage, united in confident faith, united
in willingness to surrender all of our little selfish interests
for the great cause, the citizens of this nation again shall prove
worthy of their place and station among the free peoples of the
Patriotism is a deep sentiment of
attachment to lite land, of affection toward its institutions, of
loyalty to its government, of faith in those principles which have
inspired the people in establishing their institutions. He who renounces
that attachment is no countryman of ours; he who denies that affection
deserves no love from its; he who fails in loyalty to that government
must be alien to us; he who affects to despise those principles
should be cast out from the company of faithful men.
Through many long years of peaceful days
we have been enjoying the benefits of free institutions, won for
us by the blood and sacrifice of past generations. We have lived
our lives in peaceful security. We have accepted our blessings as
ordinary facts, necessary but sure, like the loving care of parents,
or like the light and heat of the sun.
But now we know that we are the trustees
of liberty, and not merely its beneficiaries. Now the dry catalogue
of historic facts has become for us a living story of men and wouen
who died or suffered that we might live as we have been free to
Now we must comprehend that heavy duties rest
upon us; that the further preservation of our ideals and our institutions
depends upon our utmost loyalty and sacrifice; for now have come
again the great, the heroic days.
As evidence of our loyalty to our country
and its cause, which is the cause of civilization and of mankind,
we must firmly set our faces against premature and inconclusive
peace. We have gone into this war for the purpose of asserting our
own particular rights, but that is not all.
The cause of liberty is our cause, and
the integrity of nations everywhere is our integrity. Our debt to
iuankind will not be paid until the autocratic wasters of Germany
have been punished by defeat so complete that no longer can they
hope to dominate the world.
The powers now united against then must
not lay down the sword, until it is safely sure that the ideals
of those countries are to remain victorious throughout the. coming
So, to the young iuan who is not permitted
to go to the war, or whose days in the service have not yet cone,
I would say that there are broad opportunities waiting for him here
Not only are there many activities by which
he iuay contribute directly to the prosecution of the war, but he
inay contribute also indirectly but no less efficiently by helping
to maintain at home those conditions which are essential to our
success at home and abroad.
Any man who loves his country, as a true
American should, will easily find ways to register himself usefully
in patriotic service.
[Editor's Note: This editorial
was originally pubnlished on February 5, 1918.]
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