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OOODWIN'S WEHK.L,yr. 5
s , m
.DECORATION tiAY ADDRESS
MAY 30, 1902. ;
By C. C. Goodwin. i
Walk softly here, this spot is holy ground, r !
Low be each voice, uncovered be each head, L
For here beneath each consecrated mound
A hero sleeps within his narrow bed ,
Hushed in the dreamless slumber of the dead. j
Drape with warm flowers these couches low and
For in their youth, when hopes were sweet and high, j
These sleeping stalwarts volunteered to hold
Their country's flag advanced in majesty;
To fight for native land, to fight, if needs be die.
SOLDIERS AND CITIZENS :
As time is reckoned, a generation of men has lived
and died since the lips of the last cannon fired in the
great civil war grew cold.
The glorious hosts who then furled their flags, broke
ranks and merged back into the armies of peace,
have more than half passed on. Nearly every dis
tinguished officer has died. The soldiers who are '
left are bending under the infirmities of age. j
This ceremony of decorating the graves in which j
the heroes sleep becomes more touching and pathetic
with every return of the sacred day. I
The graves increase in numben The hands of liv
ing comrades to dress them grdw fewer and fewer. '
Taps are ever sounding there are no reveilles.
The placing of wreaths upon the mounds beneath j
which our fallen soldiers sleep is a sacred custom. I
Not that the sleepers need the attention, because t
they passed !
" With the Psalm of the guns to the peace of
but the ceremony is needed by the living that the j
lesson of the lives of the dead may not be lost upon !
the nation. i
Long ago it was said, " All that a man hath will he i
give for his life." It was and still is true, so when to j
vindicate a great principle, or in defence of native
land or of humanity, the young men of the nation
rise up and offer their lives, the world is thrilled. !
The story of their self abnegation is handed down
from father to son. The record electrifies and illu-1
minates history. i
Such records have made the punctuation points in
the histories of Great Britain, France and Germany J
for a thousand years. Because of them, without de- j
manding it, those countries compel the world's re-1
But all men cannot read. Many who can read are
not much stirred, no matter how thrilling may be the
story. But this ceremony today is an object lesson
that all can understand the simple story that some j
brave men in their youth, when all the world was to j
them lighted with hope, offered their lives in their
country's defence that the grateful memory of that
sacrifice once a year takes form in tenderly draping I
their final couches with flowers.
Children watch this ceremony year by year. The j
impression made by it upon their plastic hearts is J
revealed when later another summons comes for the j
brave to rally to the defence of native land or for the j
honor of the flag.
We all realized this when the news of the sinking)
of the Maine was received.
Before even the call for soldiers was sounded the
air was filled with murmurings such as presage a
storm. When the call came there was a response such
as the world had never seen before. From every
state the sound of the tread of moving thousands
rose up and filled the air. ' It was like the solemn
pealing of the bells of Destiny.
That movement was mightily accelerated by the
memories of the great preceding war, refreshed asi
they had been on every -Decoration Day by the day's t
lofty ceremony. That was four years ago. Since!
then we have seen the soldiers of the Republic carry
their immortal standards to Cuba and redeem that
land which had been under the heel of the oppressor
for centuries redeem it by irresistible valor on land,
by deeds upon the sea which make the splendors of
Salamis and Actium seem petty by comparison.
We have seen the island which war had made a
desert converted into a smilihg.garden;.
Under the flag which our soldiers' upheld we have .
seen the pestilence poise its black wings and flyaway,
the hungry fed, the hospital and school house up
reared, o der established and justice given rule, and
finally, when the time" was ripe, we saw the sover
eignity of the land given back to its own people, and '
the completed work makes the one page of the
world's history on which the words are printed in let
ters all of gold and bordered by lines of evei lasting '
We saw, too, the same standard carried by like
invincible heroes to the border of Asia, that country
from which Freedom has been excluded from the
first. The Rag was a new light to the millions there.
We saw the arm of Spain broken in the east, as it
had been in the west broken and all her oppressions
arrested. We have watched ever since as the strug
gle has gone on the struggle to beat down barbarism
with its immemorial cruelties, the struggle to light .
there the lamp of learning and to impress the lesson
of the necessity of yielding to the rule of order and of
law before personal freedom can be secured to a peo-'
pie, and have from the first rested content, in full ;
belief that the work of the soldiers there would b
their final sublime vindication.
It is good, if possible, to add new solemnity to this !
ceremony every year.
But that is not enough. It is right to inquire why
the mighty sacrifice ws requ red of the men of 1861. !
It was because, in the first place, the fathers were '
not quite true to duty ; becaute, in the second place,
the men and women, of our country at last grew to !
following their hot passions rather than their cooler,
The fathers, north and south, at first looked uponi
human slavery as an evil. They accepted it as a
necessary evil, because there was a continent to sub-
due to civilization and there were few toilers. '
Steam had not then appeared to transfer from arms'
of flesh to arms of steel the world's burdens.
Few labor saving devices existed then. Only the,
clumsiest implements were in use.
There was no electric power, no magnetic telegraph
nor telephone to act as men's messengers. 1
Only a rim of the forest along the Atlantic had ,
been felled. To the west a continent awaited explo-i
ration and settlement. The work seemed illimitable, '
the hands were few. ,
It was then that slavery was accepted, the thought!
being that while it was an evil, still that the condition!
of the African in a state of merciful slavery was bet-!
ter than it had beenjn the pitiless savagery in which!
he was born. ,
The effect of slavery upon the white race which
owned the slaves was not then considered. i
When at last the separate colonies were organized
into a federation of states and a new nation born, the;
slaves were assigned to one section of the Republic,
and the men who then lived said to each other, "The!
evil will cure.itself." j
At that time there was no one with prescience!
enough to cry out: " We have made the debts of the
states a common, national debt. Let us estimate the
value of the slaves. Let us add that valuation o the
other debt and make the slaves free, for a nation half I
slave and half free cannot long exist." j
So the system was continued. Men killed the net-;
ties and thistles iA their gardens, but were blind;
enough to believe that eventually slavery would diej
from natural causes. j
That was the first shrinking of a manifest duty on
the part of the immortals of 1776.
A lit le later the cotton gin was invented. A little!
later still cotton began to take on sovereign attri-(
butes. With increasing wealth the men of the south!
began to search for new excuses for slavery and at'
last reasoned themselves into a belief that slavery,!
instead of being wrong, was really a divine institu-j
tion and that a perfect civilization could rest on no
At the same time the men of the north denounced
the institution more and more, at last, in tone at
least, assuming that they were more just and merciful
by nature than the men of the south, until the gath- j flj
ering anger at length crystalized into sectional hate. i flj
At last thc.hot passions drowned the pleadings of the , H
conservative classes north and south and the mighty 1) M
war w.is precipitated. jlfl
The nation's eyes had become so dimmed that H
only a bath of blood could wash them clear. jH
The struggle continued until "every drop of blood jH
that had been drawn by the lash was paid for with jiB
one.drawn by the sword," and the great lesson ought ,BDj
to have been learned, while watching the wreck and iWB
death, that when a wrong is committed by a nation, H
every part of the nation must pay its full ratio of iB
the debt. IB
That all came from the fact that the fathers, great 'IB
as they were, lacked a little in wisdom, or shirked a jjB
little their duty, by trying to cure an evil by paltry IJIBJ
Lt is good to call up that history on Decoration jIB
Day, because duties are all the time presenting them- fli
selves, calling for performance on the part of our flHj
countrymen, and alas, there is the same disposition H
to evade responsibility and to try compromises as of B
old, notwithstanding the lesson that there cannot be B
any compromise with wrong; that for every such at- ;B
";mpt, the full penalty will be exacted. B
This fact should be presented on every Decoration H
Day, that the conviction may be fixed in the hearts 9H
of the people, that every duty should be justljTand iB
fairly met before the penalty for neglect begins to Mm
expand and finally becomes a constantly increasing fl
Considering this, we do not forget the claims that B
are in some places made that our present war in the jfl
Philippines is an attempt to subdue a liberty loving jB
people to subjection. JjB
-'But we have no sympathy with those who dare to jB
compare the treacherous tribes that occupy that re- iB
gion with the immortals of 1776, or who claim that B
their savage fight is but an appeal of men who would B
be free to the right of revolution, because a war for B
that kind of liberty, which is intended merely to per- B
petuate tyranny, rapacity, cruelty and ignorance, is B
not one out of which progress can emerge or upon B
which Justice can build a throne. B
We do not pretend to know what God's plans for B
the world's advancement are, but we are Americans B
anc1 do not envy those who are engaged in impeach- B
ing our own free institutions by interposing an indi- B
rect prayer for the perpetuation of rapine and cruelty fl
and woman's shame in the Philippines, and who by B
indirection insult our flag and cast reproach upon the B
brave American soldiers who have been and still are fl
' fighting under, the belief that no people are entitled fl
to the gift of self government until wnat is merciless fl
within them is subdued, and they are given the light ffl
to see that real Liberty is the most sacred of treas- jfl
ures and the intelligence and patriotism to guard the jfl
treasure, and none of us forget that our country's de- lfl
signs upon the Philippine people hold nothing more iflfl
sinister in their scope than to make that people as jfl
free as you and I are today. H
It is our grateful privilege today to decorate the jH
graves of some of the soldiers whose lives went out jH
in those far off islands, and while performing the H
sacred rite we exult in the thought that when the su- jH
preme test came the soldiers of Utah were rated as jH
among the bravest of the brave. jH
Great armies in 'war's array are magnificent spec- jH
taclts, but they do not compare in splendor to the m
armies of peace in our great Republic the armies jH
that till the fields, that work the mines, that build the fll
ships, that run the trains, that tend the looms all the H
hosts that awaken the music of the great country's M
industries as they daily," following the sun and keep- mm
ing company with the hours," fill the land with the Mmc
stately anthems of peace. ?MmL
Let us hope this may always be so. We may in fll
the future have foreign wars, for international wars fll
seem to be a part of the machinery of progress 1 'it B
if we are careful that no other great wrong is fl
permitted to grow until there can be no cure sk ,B
through the dreadful surgery of the battle field, we fl
will avoid any future war among our own people. IH
j Continued on page n flU