E-text prepared by Pat Saumell and Chuck Greif
EDGAR A. GUEST
Author of "A Heap o' Livin'" "Just Folks"
The Reilly & Britton Co. Chicago
To the Mothers Over Here
Alarm, The America April Thoughts As It Looks to the Boy Battle Prayer, A Beautifying the Flag Better Thing, The Big Deeds, The Bigger Than His Dad Boy Enlists, The Boy's Adventure, The Call, The Call to Service, The Change, The Chaplain, The Christmas, 1918 Christmas Box, The Christmas Greeting, A Complacent Slacker, The Constant Beauty Creed, A Discovery of a Soul, The Do Your All Drafted Duty Easy Service Envy Everywhere in America Exempt Father's Prayer, A Father's Thoughts, A Father's Tribute, A Flag, The Flag on the Farm, The Fly a Clean Flag Follow the Flag For Your Boy and Mine Friendly Greeting, The From Laughter to Labor Future, The General Pershing Girl He Left Behind, The Glory of Age, The Gold Givers, The Good Luck Good Soldier, A Hate Here We Are! His Room His Santa Claus Honor Roll, The Hope I Follow a Famous Father Ideals If He Should Meet a Mother There Important Thing, The Joy to Be, The July the Fourth, 1917 Kelly Ingram Life's Slacker Living Memorial Day Mother Faith, The Mother on the Sidewalk, The Mothers and Wives My Part New Year, The Next of Kin Our Duty to Our Flag Out of It All Over Here Patriot, A Patriotic Creed, A Patriotic Wish, A Plea, A Prayer, A Prayer, 1918, A Princess Pats, The Proof of Worth, The Prophecy Rebellion Reflection Runner McGee See It Through Selfishness Show the Flag Soldier on Crutches, The Soldierly Spring in the Trenches Struggle, The Sympathy Taking His Place Thanksgiving Things That Make a Soldier Great, The Thoughts of a Soldier Time for Deeds, The To a Kindly Critic To a Lady Knitting To the Men at Home Undaunted, The United Unsettled Scores, The Waiter at the Camp, The Warriors War's Homecoming We Need a Few More Optimists We've Had a Letter From the Boy We Who Stay at Home When the Drums Shall Cease to Beat Why We Fight Wish, A Wrist Watch Man, The Your Country Needs You
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Pledged to the bravest and the best, We stand, who cannot share the fray, Staunch for the danger and the test. For them at night we kneel and pray. Be with them, Lord, who serve the truth, And make us worthy of our youth!
Here mother-love and father-love Unite in love of country now; Here to the flag that flies above, Our heads we reverently bow; Here as one people, night and day, For victory we work and pray.
Nor race nor creed shall difference make, Nor bigot mar the zealot's plan; We give our all for Freedom's sake, Each man a king, each king a man. Make us the equal, Lord, we pray Of them who die for truth to-day!
Let us as gladly give our best, Let us as bravely pay the price As they, who in the bitter test Meet the supremest sacrifice. Oh, God! Wherever we are led, Let us be worthy of our dead!
Let us not compromise the truth, Let us not cringe so much in fear That foes may whisper to our youth That we have failed in courage here. Lord, strengthen us, that they may know Our spirits follow where they go!
Why We Fight
This is the thing we fight: A cry of terror in the night; A ship on work of mercy bent— A carrier of the sick and maimed— Beneath the cruel waters sent, And those that did it, unashamed.
A woman who had tried to fill A mother's place; had nursed the ill And soothed the troubled brows of pain And earned the dying's grateful prayers, Before a wall by soldiers slain! And such a poor pretext was theirs!
Old women pierced by bayonets grim And babies slaughtered for a whim, Cathedrals made the sport of shells, No mercy, even for a child, As though the imps of all the hells Were crazed with drink and running wild.
All this we fight—that some day when Good sense shall come again to men, Our children's children may not read This age's history thus defamed And find we served a selfish creed And ever be of us ashamed!
God has been good to men. He gave His Only Son their souls to save, And then he made a second gift, Which from their dreary lives should lift The tyrant's yoke and set them free From all who'd throttle liberty. He gave America to men— Fashioned this land we love, and then Deep in her forests sowed the seed Which was to serve man's earthly need.
When wisps of smoke first upwards curled From pilgrim fires, upon the world Unnoticed and unseen, began God's second work of grace for man. Here where the savage roamed and fought, God sowed the seed of nobler thought; Here to the land we love to claim, The pioneers of freedom came; Here has been cradled all that's best In every human mind and breast.
For full four hundred years and more Our land has stretched her welcoming shore To weary feet from soils afar; Soul-shackled serfs of king and czar Have journeyed here and toiled and sung And talked of freedom to their young, And God above has smiled to see This precious work of liberty, And watched this second gift He gave The dreary lives of men to save.
And now, when liberty's at bay, And blood-stained tyrants force the fray, Worn warriors, battling for the right, Crushed by oppression's cruel might, Hear in the dark through which they grope America's glad cry of hope: Man's liberty is not to die! America is standing by! World-wide shall human lives be free: America has crossed the sea!
America! the land we love! God's second gift from Heaven above, Builded and fashioned out of truth, Sinewed by Him with splendid youth For that glad day when shall be furled All tyrant flags throughout the world. For this our banner holds the sky: That liberty shall never die. For this, America began: To make a brotherhood of man.
The Time for Deeds
We have boasted our courage in moments of ease, Our star-spangled banner we've flung on the breeze; We have taught men to cheer for its beauty and worth, And have called it the flag of the bravest on earth Now the dark days are here, we must stand to the test. Oh, God! let us prove we are true to our best!
We have drunk to our flag, and we've talked of the right, We have challenged oppression to show us its might; We have strutted for years through the world as a race That for God and for country, earth's tyrants would face; Now the gage is flung down, hate is loosed in the world. Oh, God! shall our flag in dishonor be furled?
We have said we are brave; we have preached of the truth, We have walked in conceit of the strength of our youth; We have mocked at the ramparts and guns of the foe, As though we believed we could laugh them all low. Now oppression has struck! We are challenged to fight! Oh, God! let us prove we can stand for the right!
If in honor and glory our flag is to wave, If we are to keep this—the land of the brave; If more than fine words are to fashion our creeds, Now must our hands and our hearts turn to deeds. We are challenged by tyrants our strength to reveal! Oh, God! let us prove that our courage is real!
Everywhere in America
Not somewhere in America, but everywhere to-day, Where snow-crowned mountains hold their heads, the vales where children play, Beside the bench and whirring lathe, on every lake and stream And in the depths of earth below, men share a common dream— The dream our brave forefathers had of freedom and of right, And once again in honor's cause, they rally and unite.
Not somewhere in America is love of country found, But east and west and north and south once more the bugles sound, And once again, as one, men stand to break their brother's chains, And make the world a better place, where only justice reigns. The patriotism that is here, is echoed over there, The hero at a certain post is on guard everywhere. O'er humble home and mansion rich the starry banner flies, And far and near throughout the land the men of valor rise.
The flag that flutters o'er your home is fluttering far away O'er homes that you have never seen. The same impulses sway The souls of men in distant states. The red, the white and blue Means to one hundred million strong, just what it means to you. The self-same courage resolute you feel and understand Is throbbing in the breasts of men throughout this mighty land. Not somewhere in America, but everywhere to-day, For justice and for liberty all free men work and pray.
The Things That Make a Soldier Great
The things that make a soldier great and send him out to die, To face the flaming cannon's mouth, nor ever question why, Are lilacs by a little porch, the row of tulips red, The peonies and pansies, too, the old petunia bed, The grass plot where his children play, the roses on the wall: 'Tis these that make a soldier great. He's fighting for them all.
'Tis not the pomp and pride of kings that make a soldier brave; 'Tis not allegiance to the flag that over him may wave; For soldiers never fight so well on land or on the foam As when behind the cause they see the little place called home. Endanger but that humble street whereon his children run— You make a soldier of the man who never bore a gun.
What is it through the battle smoke the valiant soldier sees? The little garden far away, the budding apple trees, The little patch of ground back there, the children at their play, Perhaps a tiny mound behind the simple church of gray. The golden thread of courage isn't linked to castle dome But to the spot, where'er it be—the humble spot called home.
And now the lilacs bud again and all is lovely there, And homesick soldiers far away know spring is in the air; The tulips come to bloom again, the grass once more is green, And every man can see the spot where all his joys have been. He sees his children smile at him, he hears the bugle call, And only death can stop him now—he's fighting for them all.
We never knew how much the Flag Could mean, until he went away, We used to boast of it and brag, As something of a by-gone day; But now the Flag can start our tears In moments of our greatest joy, Old Glory in the sky appears The symbol of our little boy.
We knew that sometimes people wept To see the Flag go waving by, But never guessed the griefs they kept— We never understood just why. But now our eyes grow quickly dim, Our voices choke with sobs to-day; The Flag is telling us of him, Our little boy who's gone away.
We never knew the Flag could be So much a part of human life, We thought it beautiful to see Before these bitter days of strife; But now more beautiful it gleams, And deeper in our hearts it dwells; It is the emblem of our dreams, For of our little boy it tells.
A Battle Prayer
God of battles, be with us now: Guard our sons from the lead of shame, Watch our sons when the cannons flame, Let them not to a tyrant bow.
God of battles, to Thee we pray: Be with each loyal son who fights In the cause of justice and human rights, Grant him strength and lead the way.
God of battles, our youth we give To the battle line on a foreign soil, To conquer hatred and lust and spoil; Grant that they and their cause shall live.
Good luck! That's all I'm saying, as you sail across the sea; The best o' luck, in the parting, is the prayer you get from me. May you never meet a danger that you won't come safely through, May you never meet a German that can get the best of you; Oh! A thousand things may happen when a fellow's at the front, A thousand different mishaps, but here's hoping that they won't.
Good luck! That's all I'm saying, as you turn away to go, Good luck and plenty of it, may it be your lot to know; May you never meet rough weather, but remember if you do That the folks at home are wishing that you'll all come safely through. Oh! A thousand things may happen when a fellow bears the brunt Of His Country's fight for glory, but I'm praying that they won't.
Good luck! That's all I'm saying as you're falling into line; May the splendor of your service bring you everything that's fine; May the fates deal kindly with you, may you never know distress, And may every task you tackle end triumphant with success. Oh! A thousand things may happen that with joy your life will fill; You may not get all the gladness, but I'm hoping that you will.
A Prayer, 1918
Oh, make us worthy, God, we pray, To do thy service Here to-day; Endow us with The strength we need For every Sacrificial deed!
'Twas hard to think that he must go, We knew that we should miss him so, We thought that he must always stay Beside us, laughing, day by day; That he must never know the care And hurt and grief of life out there. Then came the call for youth, and he Talked with his mother and with me, And suddenly we learned the boy Was hungering to know the joy Of doing something real with life, And that he craved the test of strife.
And so we steeled ourselves to dread; To see at night his empty bed; To feel the silence and the gloom That hovers o'er his vacant room, And though we wept the day he went, And many a lonely hour we've spent, We've come to think as he, somehow, And we are more contented now; We're proud that we can stand and say We have a boy who's gone away. And we are glad to know that he Is serving where he ought to be.
It's queer, the change that time has brought: We're different now in speech and thought; His letters home mean joy to us, His difficulties we discuss. When word of his promotion came, His mother, with her eyes aflame With happiness and pride, rushed out To tell the neighbors round about. Her boy! Her boy is doing well! What greater news can mothers tell? I think that pity now we show For those who have no boys to go.
Mothers and Wives
Mothers and wives, 'tis the call to arms That the bugler yonder prepares to sound; We stand on the brink of war's alarms And your men may lie on a blood-stained ground. The drums may play and the flags may fly, And our boys may don the brown and blue, And the call that summons brave men to die Is the call for glorious women, too.
Mothers and wives, if the summons comes, You, as ever since war has been, Must hear with courage the rolling drums And dry your tears when the flags are seen. For never has hero fought and died Who has braver been than the mother, who Buckled his saber at his side, And sent him forward to dare and do.
Mothers and wives, should the call ring out, It is you must answer your country's cry; You must furnish brave hearts and stout For the firing line where the heroes die. And never a corpse on the field of strife Should be honored more in his country's sight Than the noble mother or noble wife Who sent him forth in the cause of right.
Mothers and wives, 'tis the call for men To give their strength and to give their lives; But well we know, such a summons then Is the call for mothers and loyal wives, For you must give us the strength we need, You must give us the boys in blue, For never a boy or a man shall bleed But a mother or wife shall suffer, too.
The Call to Service
These are the days when little thoughts Must cease men's minds to occupy; The nation needs men's larger creeds, Big men must answer to her cry; No longer selfish ways we tread, The greater task lies just ahead.
These are the days when petty things By all men must be thrust aside; The country needs men's finest deeds, Awakened is the nation's pride; Men must forsake their selfish strife Once more to guard their country's life.
His name was Kelly Ingram; he was Alabama's son, And he whistled "Yankee Doodle," as he stood beside his gun; There was laughter in his make-up, there was manhood in his face, And he knew the best traditions and the courage of his race; Now there's not a heart among us but should swell with loyal pride When he thinks of Kelly Ingram and the splendid way he died.
On the swift Destroyer Cassin he was merely gunner's mate, But up there to-day, I fancy, he is standing with the great. On that grim day last October his position on the craft Was that portion of the vessel which the sailors christen aft; There were deep sea bombs beside him to be dropped upon the Hun Who makes women folks his victims and then gloats o'er what he's done.
From the lookout came a warning; came the cry all sailors fear, A torpedo was approaching, and the vessel's doom was near; Ingram saw the streak of danger, but he saw a little more, A greater menace faced them than that missile had in store; If those deep sea bombs beside him were not thrown beneath the wave, Every man aboard the Cassin soon would find a watery grave.
It was death for him to linger, but he figured if he ran And quit his post of duty, 'twould be death for every man; So he stood at his position, threw those depth bombs overboard, And when that torpedo struck them, he went forth to meet his Lord. Oh, I don't know how to say it, but these whole United States Should remember Kelly Ingram—he who died to save his mates.
The Joy to Be
Oh, mother, be you brave of heart and keep your bright eyes shining; Some day the smiles of joy shall start and you shall cease repining. Beyond the dim and distant line the days of peace are waiting, When you shall have your soldier fine, and men shall turn from hating.
Oh, mother, bear the pain a-while, as long ago you bore it; You suffered then to win his smile, and you were happier for it; And now you suffer once again, and bear your weight of sorrow; Yet you shall thrill with gladness when he wins the glad to-morrow.
Oh, mother, when the cannons roar and all the brave are fighting, Remember that the son you bore the wrongs of earth is righting; Remember through the hours of pain that he with all his brothers Is battling there to win again a happy world for mothers.
He Should Meet a Mother There
If he should meet a mother there Along some winding Flanders road, No extra touch of grief or care He'll add unto her heavy load. But he will kindly take her arm And tender as her son will be; He'll lead her from the path of harm Because of me.
Be she the mother of his foe, He will not speak to her in hate; My boy will never stoop so low As motherhood to desecrate. But she shall know what once I knew— Eyes that are glorious to see, The light of manhood shining through— Because of me.
He will salute her as they meet, And stand before her bare of head; If she be hungry, she may eat His last remaining bit of bread. She'll find those splendid arms and strong Quick to assist her, tenderly, And they will guard her from all wrong Because of me.
I miss his thoughtful, loving care; I miss his smile these dreary days; But should he meet a mother there, Helpless and lost in war's grim maze, She need not fear to take his arm, As though she'd reared him at her knee; My son will shield her from all harm Because of me.
A Father's Tribute
I don't know what they'll put him at, or what his post may be; I cannot guess the task that waits for him across the sea, But I have known him through the years, and when there's work to do, I know he'll meet his duty well, I'll swear that he'll be true.
I sometimes fear that he may die, but never that he'll shirk; If death shall want him death must go and take him at his work; This splendid sacrifice he makes is filled with terrors grim, And I have many thoughts of fear, but not one fear of him.
The foe may rob my life of joy, the foe may take my all, And desolate my days shall be if he shall have to fall. But this I know, whate'er may be the grief that I must face, Upon his record there will be no blemish of disgrace.
His days have all been splendid days, there lies no broken trust Along the pathway of his youth to molder in the dust; Honor and truth have marked his ways, in him I can be glad; He is as fine and true a son as ever a father had.
(Who had "Return if Possible" Orders.)
"You've heard a good deal of the telephone wires," he said as we sat at our ease, And talked of the struggle that's taking men's lives in these terrible days o'er the seas, "But I've been through the thick of the thing and I know when a battle's begun, It isn't the phone you depend on for help. It's the legs of a boy who can run.
"It isn't because of the phone that I'm here. To-day you are talking to me Because of the grit and the pluck of a boy. His title was Runner McGee. We were up to our dead line an' fighting alone; some plan had miscarried, I guess, And the help we were promised had failed to arrive. We were showing all signs of distress.
"Our curtain of fire was ahead of us still, an' theirs was behind us an' thick, An' there wasn't a thing we could do for ourselves—the few of us left had to stick. You haven't much chance to get central an' talk on the phone to the music of guns; Gettin' word to the chief is a matter right then that is up to the fellow who runs.
"I'd sent four of 'em back with the R. I. P. sign, which means to return if you can, But none of 'em got through the curtain of fire; my hurry call died with the man. Then Runner McGee said he'd try to get through. I hated to order the kid On his mission of death; thought he'd never get by, but somehow or other he did.
"Yes, he's dead. Died an hour after bringing us word that the chief was aware of our plight, An' for us to hang on to the ditch that we held; the reserves would relieve us at night. Then we stuck to our trench an' we stuck to our guns; you know how you'll fight when you know That new strength is coming to fill up the gaps. There's heart in the force of your blow.
"It wasn't till later I got all the facts. They wanted McGee to remain. They begged him to stay. He had cheated death once an' was foolish to try it again. 'R. I. P. are my orders,' he answered them all, 'an' back to the boys I must go; Four of us died comin' out with the news. It will help them to know that you know.'"
The Girl He Left Behind
We used to think her frivolous—you know how parents are, A little quick to see the faults and petty flaws that mar The girl their son is fond of and may choose to make his wife, A little overjealous of the one who'd share his life; But the girl he left behind him when he bravely marched away Has blossomed into beauty that we see and need to-day.
She was with us at the depot, and we turned our backs a-while, And her eyes were sad and misty, though she tried her best to smile. Then she put her arm round mother, and it seemed to me as though They just grew to love each other, for they shared a common woe. Now she often comes to see us, and it seems to me we find A heap of solid comfort in the girl he left behind.
"She's so sensible and gentle," mother said last night to me, "The kind of girl I've often wished and prayed his wife would be. And I like to have her near us, for she understands my sighs And I see my brave boy smiling when I look into her eyes." Now the presence of his sweetheart seems to fill our home with joy. She's no longer young and flighty—she's the girl who loves our boy.
A Patriotic Creed
To serve my country day by day At any humble post I may; To honor and respect her Flag, To live the traits of which I brag; To be American in deed As well as in my printed creed.
To stand for truth and honest toil, To till my little patch of soil And keep in mind the debt I owe To them who died that I might know My country, prosperous and free, And passed this heritage to me.
I must always in trouble's hour Be guided by the men in power; For God and country I must live, My best for God and country give; No act of mine that men may scan Must shame the name American.
To do my best and play my part, American in mind and heart; To serve the flag and bravely stand To guard the glory of my land; To be American in deed, God grant me strength to keep this creed.
His room is as it used to be Before he went away, The walls still keep the pennants he Brought home but yesterday. The picture of his baseball team Still holds its favored spot, And oh, it seems a dreadful dream This age of shell and shot!
His golf clubs in the corner stand; His tennis racket, too, That once the pressure of his hand In times of laughter knew Is in the place it long has kept For us to look upon. The room is as it was, except The boy, himself, has gone.
The pictures of his girls are here, Still smiling as of yore, And everything that he held dear Is treasured as before. Into his room his mother goes As usual, day by day, And cares for it, although she knows Our boy is far away.
We keep it as he left it, when He bade us all good-bye, Though I confess that, now and then, We view it with a sigh. For never night shall thrill with joy Nor day be free from gloom Until once more our soldier boy Shall occupy his room.
It's a bigger thing you're doing than the most of us have done; We have lived the days of pleasure; now the gray days have begun, And upon your manly shoulders fall the burdens of the strife; Yours must be the sacrifices of the trial time of life. Oh, I don't know how to say it, but I'll never think of you Without wishing I were sharing in the work you have to do.
I have never known a moment that was fraught with real care, Save the hurts and griefs of sorrow that all mortals have to bear; With the gay and smiling marchers I have tramped on pleasant ways, And have paid with feeble service for the gladness of my days. But to you has come a summons, yours are days of sacrifice, And for all life has of sweetness you must pay a bitter price.
Men have fought and died before me, men must fight and die to-day, I have merely taken pleasures for which others had to pay; I have been a man of laughter, there's no path my feet have made, I have merely been a marcher in life's gaudy dress parade. But you wear the garb of service, you have splendid deeds to do, You shall sound the depths of manhood, and my boy, I envy you.
For Your Boy and Mine
Your dream and my dream is not that we shall rest, But that our children after us shall know life at its best; For all we care about ourselves—a crust of bread or two, A place to sleep and clothes to wear is all that we'd pursue. We'd tramp the world on sunny days, both light of heart and mind, And give no thought to days to come or days we leave behind.
Your dream and my dream is not that we shall play, But that our children after us shall tread a merry way. We brave the toil of life for them, for them we clamber high, And if 'twould spare them hurt and pain, for them we'd gladly die. If we had but ourselves to serve, we'd quit the ways of pride And with the simplest joys of earth we'd all be satisfied.
The best for them is what we dream. Our little girls and boys Must know the finest life can give of comforts and of joys. They must be shielded well from woe and kept secure from care, And if we could, upon our backs, their burdens we would bear. And so once more we rise to-day to face the battle zone That those who follow us may know the Flag that we have known.
Your dream and my dream is not that we shall live; The greatest joys we hope to claim are those that we shall give. We face the heat and strife of life, its battle and its toil That those who follow us may know the best of freedom's soil. And if we knew that by our death we'd keep that flag on high, For your boy and my boy, how gladly we would die.
The glory of a soldier—and a soldier's not a saint— Is the way he does his duty without grumbling or complaint; His work's not always pleasant, but he does it rain or shine, And he grabs a bit of glory when he's fighting in the line; But the lesson that he teaches every day to me an' you Is the way to do a duty that we do not like to do.
Any sort o' chap can whistle when his work is mostly fun; A hundred want the pleasant jobs to every sturdy one That'll grab the dreary duty an' the mean an' lowly task, Or the drab an' cheerless service that life often has to ask; But somebody has to do it, an' the test of me an' you Is the way we face the labor that we do not like to do.
Now, it isn't very pleasant standin' guard out in the rain But it's in the line o' duty, an' no soldier will complain, An' there isn't any soldier but what sometimes hates his work When the dress parade is over, an' perhaps he'd like to shirk, But he's there to follow orders, not to pick an' choose his post, An' he sometimes shines the finest at the job he hates the most.
Let's be soldiers in the struggle, let's be loyal through and through; Life is going to give us duties that perhaps we'll hate to do. There'll be little sacrifices that we will not like to make, There'll be many tasks unpleasant that will fall to us to take. An' although we all would rather do the work that brings applause, Let's forget our whims and fancies an' just labor for the cause.
Get off your downy cots of ease, There's work that must be done. Great danger's riding on the seas. The storm is coming on. Don't think that it will quickly pass. Who smiles at distant fate, And waits until it strikes, alas! Has roused himself too late.
Who thinks the fight will end before The need of him arrives, Is lengthening this brutal war And costing many lives. For over us that storm shall break Ere many weeks have fled, And we shall pay for our mistake In fields of mangled dead.
Be ready when the foe shall near, Be there to strike him hard; Let us, though he be miles from here, Be standing now on guard. To-morrow's victories won't be won By pluck that we display To-morrow when the foe comes on, But by our work to-day.
The Boy Enlists
His mother's eyes are saddened, and her cheeks are stained with tears, And I'm facing now the struggle that I've dreaded through the years; For the boy that was our baby has been changed into a man. He's enlisted in the army as a true American.
He held her for a moment in his arms before he spoke, And I watched him as he kissed her, and it seemed to me I'd choke, For I knew just what was coming, and I knew just what he'd done! 'Another little mother had a soldier for a son.
When we'd pulled ourselves together, and the first quick tears had dried, We could see his eyes were blazing with the fire of manly pride; We could see his head was higher than it ever was before, For we had a man to cherish, and our baby was no more.
Oh, I don't know how to say it! With the sorrow comes the joy That there isn't any coward in the make-up of our boy. And with pride our hearts are swelling, though with grief they're also hit, For the boy that was our baby has stepped forth to do his bit,
The Mother Faith
Little mother, life's adventure calls your boy away, Yet he will return to you on some brighter day; Dry your tears and cease to sigh, keep your mother smile, Brave and strong he will come back in a little while.
Little mother, heed them not—they who preach despair— You shall have your boy again, brave and oh, so fair! Life has need of him to-day, but with victory won, Safely life shall bring to you once again your son.
Little mother, keep the faith: not to death he goes; Share with him the joy of worth that your soldier knows. He is giving to the Flag all that man can give, And if you believe he will, surely he will live.
Little mother, through the night of his absence long, Never cease to think of him—brave and well and strong; You shall know his kiss again, you shall see his smile, For your boy shall come to you in a little while.
Thoughts of a Soldier
Since men with life must purchase life And some must die that more may live, Unto the Great Cashier of strife A fine accounting let me give. Perhaps to-morrow I shall stand Before his cage, prepared to buy New splendor for my native land: Oh, God, then bravely let me die!
If after I shall fall, shall rise A fairer land than I have known, I shall not grudge my sacrifice, Although I pay the price alone. If still more beautiful to see The Stars and Stripes o'er men shall wave And finer shall my country be, To-morrow let me find my grave.
To-night life seems so fair and sweet, Yet tyranny is stalking here, And hate and lust and foul deceit Hang heavy on the atmosphere. Injustice seeks to throttle right, And laughter's stifled to a sigh. If death can take so great a blight From human lives, then let me die.
If death must be the cost of life, And freedom's terms are human souls, Into the thickest of the strife Then let me go to pay the tolls. I would enrich my native land, New splendor to her flag I'd give, If where I fall shall freedom stand, And where I die shall freedom live.
To-morrow death with me may trade; Let me not quibble o'er the price; But may I, once the bargain's made, With courage meet the sacrifice. If happiness for ages long My little term of life can buy, God, for my country make me strong; To-morrow let me bravely die.
The Flag on the Farm
We've raised a flagpole on the farm And flung Old Glory to the sky, And it's another touch of charm That seems to cheer the passer-by, But more than that, no matter where We're laboring in wood and field, We turn and see it in the air, Our promise of a greater yield. It whispers to us all day long From dawn to dusk: "Be true, be strong; Who falters now with plough or hoe Gives comfort to his country's foe."
It seems to me I've never tried To do so much about the place, Nor been so slow to come inside, But since I've got the Flag to face, Each night when I come home to rest I feel that I must look up there And say: "Old Flag, I've done my best, To-day I've tried to do my share." And sometimes, just to catch the breeze, I stop my work, and o'er the trees Old Glory fairly shouts my way: "You're shirking far too much to-day!"
The help have caught the spirit, too; The hired man takes off his cap Before the old red, white and blue, Then to the horses says: "Giddap!" And starting bravely to the field He tells the milkmaid by the door: "We're going to make these acres yield More than they've ever done before." She smiles to hear his gallant brag, Then drops a curtsey to the Flag, And in her eyes there seems to shine A patriotism that is fine.
'We've raised a flagpole on the farm And flung Old Glory to the sky, We're far removed from war's alarm, But courage here is running high. We're doing things we never dreamed We'd ever find the time to do; Deeds that impossible once seemed Each morning now we hurry through. The Flag now waves above our toil And sheds its glory on the soil, And boy and man look up to it As if to say: "I'll do my bit!"
The Mother on the Sidewalk
The mother on the sidewalk as the troops are marching by Is the mother of Old Glory that is waving in the sky. Men have fought to keep it splendid, men have died to keep it bright, But that flag was born of woman and her sufferings day and night; 'Tis her sacrifice has made it, and once more we ought to pray For the brave and loyal mother of the boy that goes away.
There are days of grief before her, there are hours that she will weep, There are nights of anxious waiting when her fear will banish sleep; She has heard her country calling and has risen to the test, And has placed upon the altar of the nation's need, her best. And no man shall ever surfer in the turmoil of the fray The anguish of the mother of the boy who goes away.
You may boast men's deeds of glory, you may tell their courage great, But to die is easier service than alone to sit and wait, And I hail the little mother, with the tear-stained face and grave Who has given the Flag a soldier—she's the bravest of the brave. And that banner we are proud of, with its red and blue and white Is a lasting tribute holy to all mothers' love of right.
The Big Deeds
We are done with little thinking and we're done with little deeds, We are done with petty conduct and we're done with narrow creeds; We have grown to men and women, and we've noble work to do, And to-day we are a people with a larger point of view. In a big way we must labor, if our Flag shall always fly. In a big way some must suffer, in a big way some must die.
There must be no little dreaming in the visions that we see, There must be no selfish planning in the joys that are to be; 'We have set our faces eastwards to the rising of the sun That shall light a better nation, and there's big work to be done. And the petty souls and narrow, seeking only selfish gain, Shall be vanquished by the toilers big enough to suffer pain.
It's a big task we have taken; 'tis for others we must fight. We must see our duty clearly in a white and shining light; We must quit our little circles where we've moved in little ways, And work, as men and women, for the bigger, better days. We must quit our selfish thinking and our narrow views and creeds. And as people, big and splendid, we must do the bigger deeds.
The Wrist Watch Man
He is marching dusty highways and he's riding bitter trails, His eyes are clear and shining and his muscles hard as nails. He is wearing Yankee khaki and a healthy coat of tan, And the chap that we are backing is the Wrist Watch Man.
He's no parlor dude, a-prancing, he's no puny pacifist, And it's not for affectation there's a watch upon his wrist. He's a fine two-fisted scrapper, he is pure American, And the backbone of the nation is the Wrist Watch Man.
He is marching with a rifle, he is digging in a trench, He is swapping English phrases with a poilu for his French; You will find him in the navy doing anything he can, For at every post of duty is the Wrist Watch Man.
Oh, the time was that we chuckled at the soft and flabby chap Who wore a little wrist watch that was fastened with a strap. But the chuckles all have vanished, and with glory now we scan The courage and the splendor of the Wrist Watch Man.
He is not the man we laughed at, not the one who won our jeers, He's the man that we are proud of, he's the man that owns our cheers; He's the finest of the finest, he's the bravest of the clan, And I pray for God's protection for our Wrist Watch Man.
Follow the Flag
Aye, we will follow the Flag Wherever she goes, Into the tropic sun, Into the northern snows; Go where the guns ring out Scattering steel and lead, Painting the hills with blood, Strewing the fields with dead. But in each heart must be, And back of each bitter gun, Love for the best in life After the fighting's done.
Aye, we will follow the Flag Into benighted lands, Brave in the faith for which, Proudly, our banner stands. Life for her life we'll pay, Blood for her blood we'll give, Fighting, but not to kill, Save that the best shall live. But, when the cannon's roar Dies in a hymn of peace, Justice and truth must reign, Power of the brute must cease.
Aye, we will follow the Flag, Gladly her work we'll do, Banishing wrongs of old, Founding the truth anew. What though our guns must speak, What though brave men must die, Ages of truth to come All this shall justify. Men in the charms of peace, Basking in Freedom's sun, Some day shall bless our Flag After our work is done.
Aye, we will follow the Flag Wherever she goes, Into the tropic sun, Into the northern snows. Fearlessly, on we'll go Into the cruel strife, Gladly the few shall die, Winning for many, life. Tyranny's wrongs must cease, Brutes must no longer brag, This is our work on earth, So we will follow the Flag.
We've Had a Letter From the Boy
We've had a letter from the boy, And oh, the gladness and the joy It brought to us! We read it o'er I'd say a dozen times or more. We laughed until the teardrops fell At all the fun he had to tell. He's in the navy, wearing blue, And everything is all so new That he can see in youthful style The funny things to make us smile.
He's working hard! Between the lines We gather that. The brass he shines Without complaining, and the food He gets to eat is very crude. And yet he laughs at all his chores. He says the maid who scrubs our floors Will have to quit when he returns Unless a better way she learns. "I've got it on the fairer sex," Says he, "since I am swabbing decks."
"A sailor's life, dear Mom," writes he, "Is not the life you picked for me. And yet I'm getting fat and strong And learning as I go along That any life a man can find Is apt to grow to be a grind Unless a fellow has the wit To see the brighter side of it. Don't worry for your sailor son; He sleeps well when his work is done."
We've had a letter from the boy, And oh, the gladness and the joy It brought to us! 'Twas good to know That he is facing duty so. Between the lines that he had penned His mother's bitter fears to end, I saw his manhood glowing bright, And now I know his heart is right. Behind the laughter I could see My boy's the man I'd hoped he'd be.
They have said you needn't go to the front to face the foe; They have left you with jour women and your children safe at home; They have spared you from the crash of the murderous guns that flash And the horrors and the madness and the death across the foam. But it's your fight, just the same, and your country still must claim The splendor of your manhood and the best that you can do; In a thousand different ways through the dark and troubled days, You must stand behind the nation that has been so good to you.
You're exempt from shot and shell, from the havoc and the hell That have robbed the world of gladness; you have missed the sterner fate Of the brave young men and fine, that are falling into line, You may stay among your children who are swinging on the gate. But you're not exempt from love of the Flag that flies above, You've a greater obligation to your country to be true; You must work from day to day in a bigger, better way For the glory of the nation that has been so good to you.
You are not exempt from trial, from long days of self-denial, From devotion to your homeland and from courage in the test. You are not exempt from giving to your country's needs and living As a citizen and soldier—an example of the best. You've a harder task before you than the boys who're fighting for you, You must match their splendid courage and devotion through and through; You must prove by fine endeavor, and by standing constant ever That you're worthy of the country that has been so good to you.
We know not where the path may lead nor what the end may be, The clouds are dark above us now, the future none can see, And yet when all the storms have passed, and cannons cease to roar, We shall be prouder of our flag than we have been before.
We could not longer idle stay, spectators of a wrong, The weak were crying out for help against oppression strong; And though we pray we may be spared the bitterness of strife, 'Twere better that we die than live the coward's feeble life.
We could not longer silent sit, our glory at an end, And blind ourselves unto the wrongs committed by a friend; We must be tolerant with all, yet in these days of hate, Some things have happened that it would be shame to tolerate.
And now we stand before the world, erect and calm and grave, And speak the words that decency must rule the land and wave; Into the chaos of despair we fling ourselves to-day As guardians of a precious trust hate must not sweep away.
We must rejoice, if we are men, not weak and soft of heart That we have heeded duty's call, and taken up our part. And when at last sweet peace shall come, and all the strife is o'er, We shall be prouder of our flag than we have been before,
God grant to us the strength of men, The patience of the brave; The wisdom to be silent, when The days with doubt are grave. When dangers come, as come they must, Throughout the trying hours Let us continue still to trust That triumph shall be ours.
We have foresworn our days of ease To battle for the right, To venture over troubled seas Oppression's wrongs to fight. And we have pledged ourselves to grief, And bitter hurt and pain, Then must we cling to this belief: We suffer not in vain.
God grant to us the strength of men, God help us to be true Until that glorious morning when The world shall smile anew. We shall be tested sore and tried, And flayed by many fears, Yet let us in this faith abide, That right shall rule the years.
One came to the house with a pretty speech: "It's all for the best," said he, And I know that he sought my heart to reach, And I know that he grieved with me.
But I was too full of my sorrow then To list to his words or care; Though I've tried I cannot recall again The comfort he gave me there.
But another came, and his lips were dumb As he grasped me by the hand, And he stammered: "Old man, I had to come, Oh, I hope you'll understand."
And ever since then I have felt his hand Clasped tightly in my own, And to-day his silence I understand— My sorrowing he had known.
They say we must not hate, nor fight in hate. I've thought it over many a solemn hour, And cannot mildly view the man or state That has no thought, save only to be great; I cannot love the creature drunk with power. I hate the hand that slaughters babes at sea, I hate that will that orders wives to die. And there is something rises up in me When brutes run wild in crime and lechery That soft adjustments will not satisfy.
Men seldom fight the things they do not hate; A vice grows strong on mildly tempered scorn; Rank thrives the weed the gardeners tolerate; You cannot stroke the snake that lies in wait, And change his nature with to-morrow's morn. If roses are to bloom, the weeds must go; Vice be dethroned if virtue is to reign; Honor and shame together cannot grow, Sin either conquers or we lay it low, Wrong must be hated if the truth remain.
I hold that we must fight this war in hate— In bitter hate of blood in fury spilled; Of children, bending over book and slate, Slaughtered to make a Prussian despot great; In hate of mothers pitilessly killed. In hate of liars plotting wars for gain; In hate of crimes too black for printed page; In hate of wrongs that mark the tyrant's reign— And crush forever all within his train. Such hate shall be the glory of our age.
He isn't long on speeches. At the banquet table, he Could name a dozen places where he would much rather be. He's not one for fuss and feathers or for marching in review, But he's busy every minute when he's got a job to do. And you'll find him in the open, fighting hard and fighting square For the glory of his country when his boys get over there.
He has listened to the cheering of the splendid folks of France, And he knows that he's the leader of America's advance, And he knows his task is mighty and that words will not avail, So he's standing to his duty, for he isn't there to fail. And you'll find him cool and steady when the guns begin to flare, And he'll talk in deeds of glory when his boys get over there.
He has gone to face the fury of the Prussian hordes that sweep O'er the fertile fields of Freedom, where the forms of heroes sleep, And it seems no time for talking or for laughter or for cheers, With the wounded all about him and their moaning in his ears. He is waiting for to-morrow, waiting there to do his share, And he'll strike a blow for freedom when his boys get over there.
The Better Thing
It is better to die for the flag, For its red and its white and its blue, Than to hang back and shirk and to lag And let the flag sink out of view. It is better to give up this life In the heat and the thick of the strife Than to live out your days 'neath a sky, Where Old Glory shall never more fly.
The peace that we long for will be Far worse than the war that we dread If never again we're to see The blue, and the white and the red Wind-tossed and sun-kissed in the skies. If ever the Stars and Stripes dies Or loses its lustre and pride, We shall wish in our souls we had died.
It is better by far that we die Than that flag shall pass out of the world; If ever it ceases to fly, If ever it's hauled down and furled, Dishonor shall stamp us with shame And freedom be naught but a name, And the few years of dearly-bought breath Will be filled with worse horrors than death.
To a Lady Knitting
Little woman, hourly sitting, Something for a soldier knitting, What in fancy can you see? Many pictures come to me Through the stitch that now you're making: I behold a bullet breaking; I can see some soldier lying In that garment slowly dying, And that very bit of thread In your fingers, turns to red. Gray to-day; perhaps to-morrow Crimsoned by the blood of sorrow.
It may be some hero daring Shall that very thing be wearing When he ventures forth to give Life that other men may live. He may braver wield the saber As a tribute to your labor, And for that, which you have knitted, Better for his task be fitted. When the thread has left your finger, Something of yourself may linger, Something of your lovely beauty May sustain him in his duty.
Some one's boy that was a baby Soon shall wear it, and it may be He will write and tell his mother Of the kindness of another, And her spirit shall caress you, And her prayers at night shall bless you. You may never know its story, Cannot know the grief or glory That are destined now and hover Over him your wool shall cover, Nor what spirit shall invade it Once your gentle hands have made it.
Little woman, hourly sitting, Something for a soldier knitting, 'Tis no common garb you're making, These, no common pains you're taking. Something lovely, holy, lingers O'er the needles in your fingers And with every stitch you're weaving Something of yourself you're leaving. From your gentle hands and tender There may come a nation's splendor, And from this, your simple duty, Life may win a fairer beauty.
A Good Soldier
He writes to us most every day, and how his letters thrill us! I can't describe the joys with which his quaint expressions fill us. He says the military life is not of his selection, He's only soldiering to-day to give the Flag protection. But since he's in the army now and doing duties humble, He'll do what all good soldiers must, and he will never grumble.
He's not so keen for standing guard, a lonely vigil keeping, "But when I must," he writes to us, "they'll never find me sleeping! I hear a lot of boys complain about the tasks they set us And there's no doubt that mother's meals can beat the ones they get us, But since I'm here to do my bit, close to the job I'm sticking; I'll take whatever comes my way and waste no word in kicking.
"I'd like to be a captain, dad, a major or a colonel, I'd like to get my picture in some illustrated journal; I don't exactly fancy jobs that now and then come my way, Like picking bits of rubbish up that desecrate the highway. But still I'll do those menial tasks as cheerfully as could one, For while I am a private here I'm going to be a good one.
"A soldier's life is not the way I'd choose to make my living, But now I'm in the ranks to serve, my best to it I'm giving. Oh, I could name a dozen jobs that I'd consider finer, But since I've got this one to do I'll never be a whiner. I'm just a private in the ranks, but take it from my letter, They'll never fire your son for one who'll do his duty better."
His Santa Claus
He will not come to him this year with all his old-time joy, An imitation Santa Claus must serve his little boy; Last year he heard the reindeers paw the roof above his head, And as he dreamed the kindly saint tip-toed about his bed, But Christmas Eve he will not come by any happy chance; This year his kindly Santa Claus must guard a trench in France.
His mother bravely tries to smile; last Christmas Eve was gay; Last Christmas morn his daddy rose at dawn with him to play; This year he'll hang his stocking by the chimney, but the hands That filled it with the joys he craved now serve in foreign lands. He is too young to understand his mother's troubled glance, But he that was his Santa Claus is in a trench in France.
Somewhere in France this Christmas Eve a soldier brave will be, And all that night in fancy he will trim a Christmas tree; And all that night he'll live again the joys that once he had When he was good St. Nicholas unto a certain lad. And he will wonder if his boy, by any sad mischance, Will find his stocking empty just because he serves in France.
Show the Flag
Show the flag and let it wave As a symbol of the brave; Let it float upon the breeze As a sign for each who sees That beneath it, where it rides, Loyalty to-day abides.
Show the flag and signify That it wasn't born to die; Let its colors speak for you That you still are standing true, True in sight of God and man To the work that flag began.
Show the flag that all may see That you serve humanity. Let it whisper to the breeze That comes singing through the trees That whatever storms descend You'll be faithful to the end.
Show the flag and let it fly, Cheering every passer-by—Men that may have stepped aside, May have lost their old-time pride, May behold it there, and then Consecrate themselves again.
Show the flag! The day is gone When men blindly hurry on Serving only gods of gold; Now the spirit that was cold Warms again to courage fine. Show the flag and fall in line!
The Honor Roll
The boys upon the honor roll, God bless them all, I pray! God watch them when they sleep at night, and guard them through the day. We've stamped their names upon our walls, the list in glory grows, Our brave boys and our splendid boys who stand to meet our foes.
Oh, here are sons of mothers fair and fathers fine and true, The little ones of yesterday, the children that we knew; We thought of them as youngsters gay, still laughing at their games, And then we found the honor roll emblazoned with their names.
We missed their laughter and their cheer; it seems but yesterday We had them here to walk with us, and now they've marched away. And here where once their smiles were seen we keep a printed scroll; The absent boy we long to see is on the honor roll.
So quickly did the summons come we scarcely marked the change, One day life marched its normal pace, the next all things seemed strange, And when we questioned where they were, the sturdiest of us all, We saw the silent honor roll on each familiar wall.
The laughter that we knew has gone; the merry voice of youth No longer rings where graybeards sit, discussing sombre truth. No longer jests are flung about to rouse our weary souls, For they who meant so much to us are on our honor rolls.
The Princess Pats
A touch of the plain and the prairie, A bit of the Motherland, too; A strain of the fur-trapper wary, A blend of the old and the new; A bit of the pioneer splendor That opened the wilderness' flats, A touch of the home-lover, tender, You'll find in the boys they call Pats.
The glory and grace of the maple, The strength that is born of the wheat, The pride of a stock that is staple, The bronze of a midsummer heat; A blending of wisdom and daring, The best of a new land, and that's The regiment gallantly bearing The neat little title of Pats.
A bit of the man who has neighbored With mountains and forests and streams, A touch of the man who has labored To model and fashion his dreams; The strength of an age of clean living, Of right-minded fatherly chats, The best that a land could be giving Is there in the breasts of the Pats.
July the Fourth, 1917
Time was the cry went round the world: America for freedom speaks, A new flag is to-day unfurled, An eagle on the mountain shrieks, A king is failing on his throne, A race of men defies his power! And no one could have guessed or known The burden of that splendid hour.
A bell rang out that summer day And men and women stood and heard; That tongue of brass had more to say Than could be spoken by a word. It spoke the thoughts of honest men, It whispered Destiny's intents And rang a warning loudly then To Kings of all the continents.
The old bell in its holy loft Where pigeons nest, has ceased to swing And yet through many a day and oft A weary people hear it sing. That hour long years ago, when first America for freedom fought, The bonds of slavery were burst: That hour began the reign of thought.
Here comes another summer day: America is on the sea, America has dared to say That other people shall be free. No selfish stain her banner mars, Her flag, for truth and right, unfurled, With every stripe and all its stars Still speaks its message to the world
Out where the soldiers fight for men, Out where, for others, heroes die, Out where they storm the Tyrant's den, The Starry Banner lights the sky. And once again the cry goes out That brings the flush of hope to cheeks Grown pale by bitter war and doubt: "America for Freedom speaks."
Spring in the Trenches
It's coming time for planting in that little patch of ground, Where the lad and I made merry as he followed me around; The sun is getting higher, and the skies above are blue, And I'm hungry for the garden, and I wish the war were through.
But it's tramp, tramp, tramp, And it's never look behind, And when you see a stranger's kids, Pretend that you are blind.
The spring is coming back again, the birds begin to mate; The skies are full of kindness, but the world is full of hate. And it's I that should be bending now in peace above the soil, With laughing eyes and little hands about to bless the toil.
But it's fight, fight, fight, And it's charge at double-quick; A soldier thinking thoughts of home Is one more soldier sick.
Last year I brought the bulbs to bloom and saw the roses bud; This year I'm ankle deep in mire, and most of it is blood. Last year the mother in the door was glad as she could be; To-day her heart is full of pain, and mine is hurting me.
But it's shoot, shoot, shoot, And when the bullets hiss, Don't let the tears fill up your eyes, For weeping soldiers miss.
Oh, who will tend the roses now and who will sow the seeds? And who will do the heavy work the little garden needs? And who will tell the lad of mine the things he wants to know, And take his hand and lead him round the paths we used to go?
For it's charge, charge, charge, And it's face the foe once more; Forget the things you love the most And keep your mind on war.
Bigger Than His Dad
He has heard his country calling, and has fallen into line, And he's doing something bigger than his daddy ever did; He has caught a greater vision than the finest one of mine, And I know to-day I'm prouder of than sorry for the kid.
His speech is soft and vibrant with the messages of truth, And he says some things of duty that I cannot understand; It may be that I'm selfish, but this ending of his youth Is not the dream I cherished and it's not the thing I planned.
I only know he's bigger in his uniform to-day Than I, who stand and watch him as he drills, have ever been; That he sees a greater vision of life's purpose far away, And a finer goal to die for than my eyes have ever seen.
I wish I felt as he does, wish I had his sense of right; With the vision he possesses I should be supremely glad; But I sometimes start to choking when I think of him at night— The boy that has grown bigger, yes, and better than his dad.
The Boy's Adventure
"Dear Father," he wrote me from Somewhere in France, Where he's waiting with Pershing to lead the advance, "There's little the censor permits me to tell Save the fact that I'm here and am happy and well. The French people cheered as we marched from our ship At the close of a really remarkable trip; They danced and they screamed and they shouted and ran, And I blush as I write. I was kissed by a man!
"I've seen a great deal since I bade you good-bye, I have witnessed a battle far up in the sky; I have heard the dull roar of a long line of guns, And seen the destruction that's worked by the Huns; Some scenes I'll remember, and some I'll forget, But the welcome he gave me! I'm feeling it yet. Oh, try to imagine your boy if you can, As he looked and he felt, being kissed by a man!
"'Ah, Meestaire!' he cried in a voice that was shrill, And his queer little eyes with delight seemed to fill, And before I was wise to the custom, or knew Just what he was up to, about me he threw His arms, and he hugged me, and then with a squeak, He planted a chaste little kiss on each cheek. He was stocky and strong and his whiskers were tan. Now please keep it dark. I've been kissed by a man."
Out of It All
Out of it all shall come splendor and gladness; Out of the madness and out of the sadness, Clearer and finer the world shall arise. Why then keep sorrow and doubt in your eyes?
Joy shall be ours when the warfare is over; Children shall gleefully romp in the clover; Here with our heroes at home and at rest, We shall rejoice with the world at its best.
Not in vain, not in vain, is our bright banner flying; Not for naught are the sons of our fond mothers dying; The gloom and despair are not ever to last; The world shall be better when they shall have passed.
So mourn not his absence, but smile and be brave; You shall have him again from the brink of the grave In a wonderful world 'neath a wonderful sun; He shall come to your arms with his victory won.
The Christmas Box
Oh, we have shipped his Christmas box with ribbons red 'tis tied, And he shall find the things he likes from them he loves inside, But he must miss the kisses true and all the laughter gay And he must miss the smiles of home upon his Christmas Day.
He'll spend his Christmas 'neath the Flag; he'll miss each merry face, Old Glory smiling down on him must take his mother's place, Yet in the Christmas box we've sent, in fancy he will find The laughter and the tears of joy that he has left behind.
His mother's tenderness is there, his father's kindly way, And all that went last year to make his merry Christmas Day; He'll see once more his sister's smile, he'll hear the baby shout, And as he opens every gift we'll gather round about.
He cannot come to share with us the joys of Christmas Day; The Flag has called to him, and he is serving far away. Undaunted, unafraid and fine he stands to duty grim, And so this Christmas we have tried to ship ourselves to him.
God grant me these: the strength to do Some needed service here; The wisdom to be brave and true; The gift of vision clear, That in each task that comes to me Some purpose I may plainly see.
God teach me to believe that I Am stationed at a post, Although the humblest 'neath the sky, Where I am needed most, And that, at last, if I do well, My humble services will tell.
God grant me faith to stand on guard, Uncheered, unspoke, alone, And see behind such duty hard My service to the throne. Whate'er my task, be this my creed: I am on earth to fill a need.
Your Country Needs You
The country needs a man like you, It has a task for you to do. It has a job for you to face. Somewhere for you it has a place. Not all the slackers dodge the work Of service where the cannon lurk, Not all the slackers on life's stage Are boys of military age. The old, the youthful and unfit Must also do their little bit.
The country needs a man like you, 'Twill suffer if you prove untrue. What though you cannot bear a gun? That isn't all that's to be done. There are a thousand other ways To serve your country through the days Of trial and the nights of storm. You need not wear a uniform Or with the men in council sit To serve the Flag and do your bit.
Somewhere for you there is a place, Somewhere you have a task to face. There's none so helpless or so frail That cannot, when our foes assail, In some way help our common cause And be deserving of applause. Behind the Flag we all must be, Each at his post, awake to see That in so far as he has striven, His best was to his country given.
You can be patient, brave and strong, And not complain when plans go wrong; You can be cheerful at your toil, Or till, perhaps, some patch of soil; You can encourage others who Have heavier, greater tasks to do; You can be loyal, not in creed Alone, but in each thought and deed; You can make sacrifices, too. The country needs a man like you,
To keep in mind from day to day That I'm a soldier in the fray; That I must serve, from sun to sun, As well as he who bears a gun The flag that flies above us all, And answer well my Country's call.
I must not for one hour forget Unto the Stars and Stripes my debt. 'Twas spotless on' my day of birth, And when at last I quit this earth Old Glory still must spotless be For all who follow after me.
At some post where my work will fit I must with courage do my bit; Some portion of myself I'd give That freedom and the Flag may live. And in some way I want to feel That I am doing service real.
I must in all I say and do Respect the red, the white and blue', Nor dim with petty deeds of shame The splendor of Old Glory's fame; I must not let my standards drag, For my disgrace would stain the Flag.
Life is a struggle for peace, A longing for rest, A hope for the battles to cease, A dream for the best; And he is not living who stays Contented with things, Unconcerned with the work of the days And all that it brings.
He is dead who sees nothing to change, No wrong to make right; Who travels no new way or strange In search of the light; Who never sets out for a goal That he sees from afar But contents his indifferent soul With things as they are.
Life isn't rest—it is toil; It is building a dream; It is tilling a parcel of soil Or bridging a stream; It's pursuing the light of a star That but dimly we see, And in wresting from things as they are The joy that should be.
As It Looks to the Boy
His comrades have enlisted, but his mother bids him stay, His soul is sick with coward shame, his head hangs low to-day, His eyes no longer sparkle, and his breast is void of pride And I think that she has lost him though she's kept him at her side. Oh, I'm sorry for the mother, but I'm sorrier for the lad Who must look on life forever as a hopeless dream and sad.
He must fancy men are sneering as they see him walk the street, He will feel his cheeks turn crimson as his eyes another's meet; And the boys and girls that knew him as he was but yesterday, Will not seem to smile upon him, in the old familiar way. He will never blame his mother, but when he's alone at night, His thoughts will flock to tell him that he isn't doing right.
Oh, I'm sorry for the mother from whose side a boy must go, And the strong desire to keep him that she feels, I think I know, But the boy that she's so fond of has a life to live on earth, And he hungers to be busy with the work that is of worth. He will sicken and grow timid, he'll be flesh without a heart Until death at last shall claim him, if he doesn't do his part.
Have you kept him, gentle mother? Has he lost his old-time cheer? Is he silent, sad and sullen? Are his eyes no longer clear? Is he growing weak and flabby who but yesterday was strong? Then a secret grief he's nursing and I'll tell you what is wrong. All his comrades have departed on their country's noblest work, And he hungers to be with them—it is not his wish to shirk.
Fly a Clean Flag
This I heard the Old Flag say As I passed it yesterday: "Months ago your friendly hands Fastened me on slender strands And with patriotic love Placed me here to wave above You and yours. I heard you say On that long departed day: 'Flag of all that's true and fine, Wave above this house of mine; Be the first at break of day And the last at night to say To the world this word of cheer: Loyalty abideth here.'
"Here on every wind that's blown, O'er your" portal I have flown; Rain and snow have battered me, Storms at night have tattered me; Dust of street and chimney stack Day by day have stained me black, And I've watched you passing there, Wondering how much you care. Have you noticed that your flag, Is to-day a wind-blown rag? Has your love so careless grown By the long neglect you've shown That you never raise your eye To the symbol that you fly?"
"Flag, on which no stain has been, 'Tis my sin that you're unclean," Then I answered in my shame. "On my head must lie the blame. Now with patriotic hands I release you from your strands, And a spotless flag shall fly Here to greet each passer-by. Nevermore shall Flag of mine Be a sad and sorry sign Telling all who look above I neglect the thing I love. But my Flag of faith shall be Fit for every eye to see."
To a Kindly Critic
If it's wrong to believe in the land that we love And to pray for Our Flag to the good God above; If it's wrong to believe that Our Country is best; That honor's her standard, and truth is her crest; If placing her first in our prayers and our song Is false to true reason, we're glad to be wrong.
If it's wrong to wish victory day after day For the troops of Our Country now marching away; If it's wrong to believe they are moved by the right And not by the love and the lure of the fight; If to cheer them to battle and bid them be strong Is false to right thinking, then let us be wrong.
If it's wrong to believe in America's dreams Of a freedom on earth that's as real as it seems; If it's error to cherish the hope, through and through, That the Stars in Old Glory's immaculate blue Shall shine through the ages, true beacons to men, We pray that no right phrase shall flow from our pen.
We little thought how much they meant—the bleeding hearts of France, And British mothers wearing black to mark some troop's advance, The war was, O, so distant then, the grief so far away, We couldn't see the weeping eyes, nor hear the women pray. We couldn't sense the weight of woe that rested on that land, But now our boy is called to go—to-day, we understand.
There, some have heard the blackest news that o'er the wires has sped, And some are living day by day beneath the clouds of dread; Some fear the worst; some know the worst, but every heart is chilled, And every soul is sorrow touched and laughter there is stilled. There, old folks sit alone and grieve and pray for peace to come, And now our little boy has heard the summons of the drum.
Their grief was such a distant thing, we made it fruit for speech. We never thought in days of old such pain our hearts would reach. We talked of it, as people do of sorrow far aloof, Nor dreamed such care would ever dwell beneath our happy roof. But England's woes are ours to-day, we share the sighs of France; Our little boy is on the sea with Death to take his chance.
Next of Kin
I notice when the news comes in Of one who's claimed eternal glory, This simple phrase, "the next of kin," Concludes the soldier's final story. This tells the world what voice will choke, What heart that bit of shrapnel broke, What father or what mother brave Will think of Flanders as a grave.
"The next of kin," the cable cold Wastes not a precious word in telling, Yet cannot you and I behold The sorrow in some humble dwelling, And cannot you and I perceive The brave yet lonely mother grieve And picture, when that news comes in, The anguish of "the next of kin?"
For every boy in uniform, Another soldier brave is fighting; A double rank the cannons storm, Two lines the cables are uniting, And with the hurt each soldier feels, At home the other warrior reels; Two suffer, freedom's cause to win: The soldier and "the next of kin."
Oh, next of kin, be brave, be strong, As brave as was the boy that's missing; The years will many be and long That you will hunger for his kissing. Yet he enlisted you with him To share war's bitter price and grim; Your service runs through many years Because your name with his appears.
See It Through
There are many to cheer when the battle begins There are many to shout for the right; There are many to rail at the world and its sins But few have the grit for the fight. There are thousands to start with a rush for the fray When the fighting seems easy to do, But when danger is present and rough is the way, The few have to see the job through.
It is easy to quit with a battle unwon, It is hard to press on to success; It is easy to stop with a purpose undone, It is hard to encounter distress. And many will march when the roadway is clear And the glorious goal is in view, But the many, too often, when dangers appear, Aren't willing to see the fight through.
They weaken in spirit when trials grow great, They flinch at the clashing of steel; They talk of the strength of the foe at the gate And whine at the hurts that they feel. They begin to regret having ventured for right, They sigh that they dared to be true, They haven't the heart they once had for the fight, They don't want to see the job through.
We have set out to battle for justice and truth, We have fearful disasters to meet; We shall weep for the best of our manliest youth, We shall suffer the pangs of defeat. But let us stand firm for the cause that we plead, Let the many be brave with the few; The cry of the quitter let none of us heed Till we've done what we started to do.
Mine is a song of hope For the days that lie before; For the grander things The morrow brings When the struggle days are o'er. Dark be the clouds to-day, Bitter the winds that blow, But falter nor fail, Through the howling gale— Comes peace in the afterglow.
Mine is the song of hope, A song for the mother here, Who lulls to rest The babe at breast, And hopes for a brighter year. Hope is the song she sings, Hope is the prayer she prays; As she rocks her boy, She dreams of the joy He'll bring in the future days.
Mine is the song of hope, A song for the father, too, Whose right arm swings, While his anvil sings A song of the journey through. Hope is the star that guides, Hope is the father's sun; Far ahead he sees, Through the waving trees, Sweet peace when his work is done.
Mine is the song of hope, Of hope that sustains us all; Be we young or old, Be we weak or bold, Do we falter or even fall, Brightly the star of hope From the distance is shining still; And with courage new We rise to do, For hope is the God of Will.
The Gold Givers
Oh, some shall stand in glory's light when all the strife is done, And many a mother there shall say, "For truth I gave my son!" But I shall stand in silence then and hear the stories brave, For I must answer at the last that gold is all I gave.
When all this age shall pass away, and silenced are the guns, When sweethearts join their loves again, and mothers kiss their sons, When brave unto the brave return, and all they did is told, How pitiful my gift shall seem, when all I gave is gold.
When we are asked what did you then, when all the world was red, And some shall say, "I fell in France," and some, "I mourned my dead;" With all the brave assembled there in glory long to live, How trivial our lives shall seem who had but gold to give.
He tried to travel No Man's Land, that's guarded well with guns, He tried to race the road of death, where never a coward runs. Now he's asking of his doctor, and he's panting hard for breath, How soon he will be ready for another bout with death.
You'd think if you had wakened in a shell hole's slime and mud That was partly dirty water, but was mostly human blood, And you had to lie and suffer till the bullets ceased to hum And the night time dropped its cover, so the stretcher boys could come—
You'd think if you had suffered from a fever and its thirst, And could hear the "rapids" spitting and the high explosives burst, And had lived to tell that story—you could face our fellow men In the little peaceful village, though you never fought again.
You'd think that once you'd fallen in the shrapnel's deadly rain, Once you'd shed your blood for honor, you had borne your share of pain; Once you'd traveled No Man's country, you'd be satisfied to quit And be invalided homeward, and could say you'd done your bit.
But he's lying, patched and bandaged, very white and very weak, And he's trying to be cheerful, though it's agony to speak; He is pleading with the doctor, though he's panting hard for breath, To return him to the trenches for another bout with death.
The Discovery of a Soul
The proof of a man is the danger test, That shows him up at his worst or best.
He didn't seem to care for work, he wasn't much at school. His speech was slow and commonplace—you wouldn't call him fool. And yet until the war broke out you'd calmly pass him by, For nothing in his make-up or his way would catch your eye. He seemed indifferent to the world, the kind that doesn't care— That's satisfied with just enough to eat and drink and wear; That doesn't laugh when others do or cry when others weep, But seems to walk the wakeful world half dormant and asleep; Then came the war, and soldiers marched and drums began to roll, And suddenly we realized his body held a soul.
We little dreamed how much he loved his Country and her Flag; About the glorious Stars and Stripes we'd never heard him brag. But he was first to volunteer, while brilliant men demurred, He took the oath of loyalty without a faltering word, And then we found that he could talk, for one remembered night, There came a preaching pacifist denouncing men who fight, And he got up in uniform and looked at him and said: "I wonder if you ever think about our soldiers dead. All that you are to-day you owe some soldier in his grave; If he had been afraid to fight, you still would be a slave."
If he had died a year ago beneath a peaceful sky, Unjust our memory would have been; of him our tongues would lie. We should have missed his splendid worth, we should have called him frail And listed him among the weak and sorry men who fail. But few regrets had marked his end; he would have passed unmourned— Perhaps by those who knew him best, indifferently scorned. But now he stands among us all, eyes bright and shoulders true, A strong defender of the faith; a man with work to do; And if he dies, his name shall find its place on history's scroll; The great chance has revealed to men the splendor of his soul.
Here We Are!
Here we are, Britain! the finest and best of us Taking our coats off and rolling our sleeves, Answering the thoughtless that once made a jest of us, Each man a soldier for what he believes. Here we are, tight little island, in unity! Tell us the job that you want us to do! You can depend on us all with impunity. Give us a task and we'll all see it through.
Here we are, France! every Yankee born man of us Coming to stand by your side in the fight; Liberty's cause makes a whole-hearted clan of us. Here we are, willing to die for the right. Silently, long from our shores we've admired you, Secretly proud of the pluck you've displayed. Brothers we are of the love that inspired you; Now we are coming, full front, to your aid.
Here we are, Allies! make room in your trenches! Shoulder to shoulder we'll share in each drive. Here we are! quitting our lathes and our benches, Bringing our best that our best shall survive. Here we are! Liberty's children, red-blooded, Coming to share in the struggle with you, Ready to die for the Flag that's star-studded; Tell us the work that you want us to do.
What is it, fighting or building you're needing? Boring a mountain or bridging a stream, Steel work and real work? Your call we are heeding. Each of us here is a man with a dream. Here we are! tacklers of tough jobs and dangers, Any old post where you put us we'll fit; Coming to serve you as brothers, not strangers; Here we are, Allies! to offer our bit!
We Who Stay at Home
When you were just our little boy, on many a night we crept Unto your cot and watched o'er you, and all the time you slept. We tucked the covers round your form and smoothed your pillow, too, And sometimes stooped and kissed your cheeks, but that you never knew. Just as we came to you back then through many a night and day, Our spirits now shall come to you—to kiss and watch and pray.
Whenever you shall look away into God's patch of sky To think about the folks at home, we shall be standing by. And as we prayed and watched o'er you when you were wrapped in sleep, So through your soldier danger now the old-time watch we'll keep. You will not know that we are there, you will not see or hear, But all the time in prayer and thought we shall be very near.
The world has made of you a man; the work of man you do, But unto us you still remain the baby that we knew; And we shall come, as once we did, on wondrous wings of prayer, And you will never know how oft in spirit we are there. We'll stand beside your bed at night, in silence bending low, And all the love we gave you then shall follow where you go.
Oh, we were proud of you back then, but we are prouder now; We see the stamp of splendor God has placed upon your brow, And we who are the folks at home shall pray the old time prayer, And ask the God of Mercy to protect you with His care. And as we came to you of old, although you never knew, The hearts of us, each day and night, shall come with love to you.
Do Your All
"Do your bit!" How cheap and trite Seems that phrase in such a fight! "Do your bit!" That cry recall, Change it now to "Do your all!" Do your all, and then do more; Do what you're best fitted for; Do your utmost, do and give, You have but one life to live.
Do your finest, do your best, Don't let up and stop to rest, Don't sit back and idly say: "I did something yesterday." Come on! Here's another hour, Give it all you have of power. Here's another day that needs Everybody's share of deeds.
"Do your bit!" of course, but then Do it time and time again; Giving, doing, all should be Up to full capacity. Now's no time to pick and choose, We've a war we must not lose. Be your duty great or small, Do it well and do it all.
Do by careful, patient living, Do by cheerful, open giving; Do by serving day by day At whatever post you may; Do by sacrificing pleasure, Do by scorning hours of leisure. Now to God and country give Every minute that you live.
"The worst is yet to come:" So wail the doubters glum, But here's the better view: "My best I've yet to do."
The worst some always fear; To-morrow holds no cheer, Yet farther on life's lane Are joys you shall attain.
Go forward bravely, then, And play your part as men, For this is ever true: "Our best we've yet to do."
A Father's Prayer
I sometimes wonder when I read the sorrow in his face If I shall wear that look of care when time has marched apace? My little boy is five years old and his is twenty-one; My little boy is home with me; his boy to war has gone.
And I can laugh and dance with life, and I can gayly jest, But heavy is the heart to-day that beats within his breast. Time was, his boy was five years old; time was he smiled as I; I wonder what awaits for me when youth has journeyed by?
Last night I sat at home and watched my little boy at play, And all the time I thought of him whose boy has gone away. And in the joy that I possessed I prayed in silence then That God would quickly bring him back his little boy again.
The Glory of Age
"What is the glory of age?" I said, "A hoard of gold and a few dear friends? When you've reached the day that you look ahead And see the place where your journey ends, When Time has robbed you of youthful might— What is the secret of your delight?"
And an old man smiled as he answered me: "The glory of age isn't gold or friends, When we've reached the valley of Soon-To-Be And note the place where our journey ends; The glory of age, be it understood, Is a boy out there who is making good.
"The greatest joy that can come to man When his sight is dim and his hair is gray; The greatest glory that God can plan To cheer the lives of the old to-day, When they share no more in the battle yell, Is a boy out there who is doing well."
Beautifying the Flag
To us the Flag has little meant. Each glorious stripe of red Was woven there to represent The blood of heroes dead. On some dim, distant battle line By other men were gained The glories that have made it fine, And idle we've remained. But now the Flag shall finer grow And ages yet to be Shall find the courage that we show To-day for liberty.
Of other men the Flag has told; It flies for others' deeds; Its pride is born of heroes bold Who served its by-gone needs. But now our blood shall mingle there With blood of patriots dead, And through the years each stripe shall wear A deeper, truer red. The splendor of the flag shall gleam In every radiant star, And finer shall the banner seem Because of what we are.
To-day new glory for the Flag We give our best to build; Of us shall future ages brag, By us their blood be thrilled; And as to us the flag has meant The greatness of the past, The Stars and Stripes shall represent Our courage to the last. The children in the years to be Our trials shall discuss, And cheer the emblem of the free, In part, because of us.
To the Men at Home
No war is won by cannon fire alone; The soldier bears the grim and dreary role; He dies to serve the Flag that he has known; His duty is to gain the distant goal. But if the toiler in his homeland fair Falter in faith and shrink from every test, If he be not on duty ever there, Lost to the cause is every soldier's best.
The men at home, the toiler in the shop, The keen-eyed watcher of the spinning drill Hear no command to vault the trench's top; They know not what it is to die or kill, And yet they must be brave and constant, too. Upon them lies their precious country's fate; They also serve the Flag as soldiers do, 'Tis theirs to make a nation's army great.
You hold your country's honor in your care. Her glory you shall help to make or mar; For they, who now her uniforms must wear Can be no braver soldiers than you are. From day to day, in big and little deeds, At bench or lathe or desk or stretch of soil, You are the man your country sorely needs! Will you not give to her your finest toil?
No war is won by cannon fire alone. The men at home must also share the fight. By what they are, a nation's strength is shown, The army but reflects their love of right. Will you not help to hold our battle line, Will you not give the fullest of your powers In sacrifice and service that is fine That victory shall speedily be ours?
From Laughter to Labor
We have wandered afar in our hunting for pleasure, We have scorned the soul's duty to gather up treasure; We have lived for our laughter and toiled for our winning And paid little heed to the soul's simple sinning. But light were the burdens that freighted us then, God and country, to-day let us prove we are men!
We have idled and dreamed in life's merriest places, The years have writ little of care in our faces; We have brought up our children, expectant of gladness, And little we've taught them of life and its sadness. For distant and dim seemed the forces of wrong, God and country, to-day let us prove we are strong!
We have had our glad years, now the sad years are coming, We have danced to gay tunes, now we march to war's drumming. We have laughed and have loved as we pleasantly toiled, And now we must show that our souls are unspoiled. We must work that our Flag shall in honor still wave, God and country, to-day let us prove we are brave!
Forgotten petty difference now, The larger purpose glows, The storm is here, a common fear Its deadly lightning shows. The Ship of State must bear us all And danger makes us kin, As one, we all shall rise or fall, So shall we strive to win.
Our banner's flying at the mast, Our course lies straight ahead; The ocean's trough is deep and rough, The waves are stained with red. The bond of danger tighter grows, We serve a common plan; Send o'er the sea the word that we Are all American.
One hundred million sturdy souls Once more united stand, As one, you will find them all behind The banner of our land. And side by side they work to-day In silken garb or rag, And once again our troops of men Are brothers of the flag.
And from the storm that hovers low, And from the angry sea Where dangers lurk and hate's at work. Shall come new victory. The flag shall know not race nor creed, Nor different bands of men; A people strong round it shall throng To ne'er divide again.
Listen to the laughter of the brook that's racin' by! Listen to the chatter of the black-birds on the fence! Stand an' see the beauties of the blue that's in the sky— Then ask of God why mortals haven't any better sense Than to quarrel an' to battle Where the guns an' cannon rattle An' to slaughter one another an' to fill the world with hate. God brings the buds to blossom Where the gentle breezes toss 'em An' the soul is blind to beauty that takes anger for its mate.
Listen to the singin' of the robins in the trees! See the sunbeams flashin' where they're mirrored by the stream! Hear the drowsy buzzin' of the honey-seekin' bees, Then draw a little closer to your God the while you dream. When the world is dressed to cheer you Don't you feel Him standin' near you? When your soul drinks in the beauty of the wonders in His plan, An' you've put away your passions, Don't you think the works He fashions In their beauty an' their bigness mock the littleness of man?
Oh, I never walk an orchard nor a field with daisies strewn, An' I never stand bare-headed gazin' everywhere about At the living joys around me, be it morning, night or noon, But I ask God to forgive me that I ever held a doubt. Surely men must walk in blindness, With the whole world tuned to kindness, An' all dumb an' feathered creatures fairly bubblin' o'er with glee To devote themselves to madness That can only end in sadness An' to think that they are being what God put them here to be.
He was just a small church parson when the war broke out, and he Looked and dressed and acted like all parsons that we see. He wore the cleric's broadcloth and he hooked his vest behind, But he had a man's religion and he had a strong man's mind, And he heard the call to duty, and he quit his church and went, And he bravely tramped right with 'em everywhere the boys were sent.
He put aside his broadcloth and he put the khaki on; Said he'd come to be a soldier and was going to live like one. Then he refereed the prize fights that the boys pulled off at night, And if no one else was handy he'd put on the gloves and fight. He wasn't there a fortnight ere he saw the soldiers' needs, And he said: "I'm done with preaching; this is now the time for deeds."
He learned the sound of shrapnel, he could tell the size of shell From the shriek it make above him, and he knew just where it fell. In the front line trench he labored, and he knew the feel of mud, And he didn't run from danger and he wasn't scared of blood. He wrote letters for the wounded, and he cheered them with his jokes, And he never made a visit without passing round the smokes.
Then one day a bullet got him, as he knelt beside a lad Who was "going west" right speedy, and they both seemed mighty glad, 'Cause he held the boy's hand tighter, and he smiled and whispered low, "Now you needn't fear the journey; over there with you I'll go." And they both passed out together, arm in arm I think they went. He had kept his vow to follow everywhere the boys were sent.
I may never be a hero, I am past the limit now, There are pencil marks of silver Time has left upon my brow; I shall win no service medals, I shall hear no cannons' roar, I shall never fight a battle higher up than eagles soar, But I hope my children's children may recall my name with pride As a man who never whimpered when his soul was being tried.
For the fighting and the dying for the everlasting truth Are the labors designated for the strongest of our youth, And the man that's nearing forty isn't asked to march away, For there is no place in battle for the head that's turning gray. His test is one of patience till the bitter work is done, He must back his country's leaders till the victory is won.
When this bitter time is ended I don't want to have it said That I faltered in my courage and I never looked ahead, I don't want it told I added to the burdens and the woe, By preaching dismal doctrines that were cheering to the foe; I want my children's children to respect me and to find That my soul was out there fighting, though my body stayed behind.
When this cruel test is over and the boys come back from France I'd not have them say I hindered for a moment their advance; That they found their duty harder than 'twas needful it should be Because of the complaining of a lot of men like me. Though I'll win no hero's medals and deserve no wild applause, I want to be of service, not a hindrance to the cause.
Some will heed the call to arms, But all must heed the call to grit; The dreamers on the distant farms Must rally now to do their bit. The whirring lathes in factories great Will sing the martial songs of strife; Upon the emery wheel of fate We're grinding now the nation's life.
The call is not alone to guns, This is not but a battle test; The world has summoned free men's sons In every field to do their best. The call has come to every man To reach the summit of his powers; To stand to service where he can; A mighty duty now is ours.
We must be stalwarts in the field Where peace has always kept her throne, No door against the need is sealed, No man to-day can live alone. The young apprentice at the bench, The wise inventor, old and gray, Serve with the soldier in the trench, All warriors for the better day.
Oh, man of science, unto you The call for service now has come! Mechanic, banker, lawyer, too, Have you not heard the stirring drum? Oh, humble digger in the ditch, Bend to your spade and do your best, And prove America is rich In manhood fine for every test.
Each man beneath the starry flag Must live his noblest through the strife If tyranny is not to drag Into the mire the best of life. Though some will wear our uniform, We face to-day a common fate And all must bravely breast the storm And heed the call for courage great.
For strength to face the battle's might, For men that dare to die for right, For hearts above the lure of gold And fortune's soft and pleasant way, For courage of our days of old, Great God of All, we kneel and pray.
We thank Thee for our splendid youth. Who fight for liberty and truth, Within whose breasts there glows anew The glory of the altar fires Which our heroic fathers knew— God make them worthy of their sires!
We thank Thee for our mothers fair Who through the sorrows they must bear Still smile, and give their hearts to woe, Yet bravely heed the day's command— That mothers, yet to be, may know A free and glorious motherland.
Oh, God, we thank Thee for the skies Where our flag now in glory flies! We thank Thee that no love of gain Is leading us, but that we fight To keep our banner free from stain And that we die for what is right.
Oh, God, we thank Thee that we may Lift up our eyes to Thee to-day; We thank Thee we can face this test With honor and a spotless name, And that we serve a world distressed Unselfishly and free from shame.
A Patriotic Wish
I'd like to be the sort of man the flag could boast about; I'd like to be the sort of man it cannot live without; I'd like to be the type of man That really is American: The head-erect and shoulders-square, Clean-minded fellow, just and fair, That all men picture when they see The glorious banner of the free.
I'd like to be the sort of man the flag now typifies, The kind of man we really want the flag to symbolize; The loyal brother to a trust, The big, unselfish soul and just, The friend of every man oppressed, The strong support of all that's best— The sturdy chap the banner's meant, Where'er it flies, to represent.
I'd like to be the sort of man the flag's supposed to mean, The man that all in fancy see, wherever it is seen; The chap that's ready for a fight Whenever there's a wrong to right, The friend in every time of need, The doer of the daring deed, The clean and generous handed man That is a real American.
It's funny when a feller wants to do his little bit, And wants to wear a uniform and lug a soldier's kit, And ain't afraid of submarines nor mines that fill the sea, They will not let him go along to fight for liberty They make him stay at home and be his mother's darling pet, But you can bet there'll come a time when they will want me yet.
I want to serve the Stars and Stripes, I want to go and fight, I want to lick the Kaiser good, and do the job up right. I know the way to use a gun and I can dig a trench And I would like to go and help the English and the French. But no, they say, you cannot march away to stirring drums; Be mother's angel boy at home; stay there and twirl your thumbs.