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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, June 23, 1914, NOON EDITION, Image 12

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1914-06-23/ed-1/seq-12/

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AMERICANS SHOOT DOWN PRISONERS OF WAR
LIKE RATS IN VERA CRUZ
BY FRED OBOALT ,
Vera Cruz, Mex. When the Amer
icans took Vera Cruz, an ensign, in
Jus student days perhaps the best
full-back Annapolis ever had, had
command of a squad of men who
took many prisoners.
These prisoners were coraled in a
room. At a word from the ensign,
they were released and told to scurry
for the next corner. Those who
reached it in safety, in the opinion of
the ensign, deserved to live.
But very few did.
The ensign applied the "ley de
fuga" the law of flight.
The law of flight is not nice. The
rules of civilized warfare forbid the
application of the law of flight.
But war is war; and one American
naval officer did apply the law of
flight. He admits it, boasts about it.
Curiously enough, his friends applaud
him for it Hundreds.of American
army and navy office and men
know that this ensign and his men
applied the forbidden laiy of flight
made sport of prisoners of war and
even non-combatants, giving them a
flying start and "potting" them as
they fled.
I havebeen told that it was fun to
see them run.
When was a boy, I had a bulldog
who applied the law of flight.
When Iand my play-fellows had
caught in traps a dozen or a score
of rats, we would turn them loose
in a pasture.
The trick was for the dog to catch,
if he could, all the rats before they
reached the split-rail fence which
surrounded the pasture. Once
through the fence, there was no
catching the rat, because they lost
themselves in tall grass.
ie wit vnn
ft
foot from it The second ran a yard,
perhaps. And so on. The last rat
always tried desperately to reach the .-.
fence. V
But it was very seldom that even
the last rat escaped that bulldog's
snapping jaws.
I imagine thaffly bulldog and the
young ensign artff ex-football star
whom I have mentioned, both of
whom applied the law of flight are
somewhat alike.
I am glad that I can tell you of a
different man.
He was only a sailor, an enlisted
man.
I cannot tell you the name of that
sailor. I got the story from the man
in whose arms lie died. He was one
of the 17.
At the foot of a wide street, close
to the Vera Cruz water front, is the
terminal station. On the second day
of the fighting, a sailor was seen
staggering toward the station, drag- ,
ging after him a wounded comrade.
The comrade was wounded in the
leg and could not walk. But through
the lungs of the sailor who was drag
ging him to safety a bullet had torn
a gaping wound.
They rounded the corner of the
building. The man with the shat
tered leg was taken away, and cared
for1, and today he is as good as new.
There was blood on the sailor's
blouse and a tiny hole. The spotch
of blood widened. It was then they )
guessed that his wound was mortal.
They fetched a cot He waved
them away. A doctor came. He
stayed him with a gesture. I had the
Tvord of the man in whose arms he '
died that that gesture was superb.
He tried to speak. Blood gushed
from his lips. He swallowed, while
his eyes glazed. Then the words
came.
"I want to die standing!" he
isaid. JiXibQ fcteii..
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