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Remember, boy, that behind all these men you have to do with, behind officers, and government, and people even, there is the Country Herself, your Country, and that you belong to Her as you belong to your own Mother.
The Man Without a Country.
We are virtually at war. By the time this is published, perhaps the declaration will have been made.
And even now, all over the country, on this bright spring day, there are mothers who are waiting to know what they must do. Mothers who are facing the day with heads up and shoulders back, ready to stand steady when the blow falls; mothers who shrink and tremble, but ready, too; and other mothers, who cannot find the strength to give up to the service of their country the boys who will always be little boys to them.
I love my country. There is nothing she can ask that I will not do. I am ready to live for her or die for her. Last stand of the humanities on earth, realization of a dream and fulfillment of an ideal, my home, my native land,—that is America to me. Because I am a woman, I cannot die for my country, but I am doing a far harder thing.
I am giving a son to the service of his country, the land he loves.
When I was a child, I lived on a quiet, tree-shaded street in this very city where now I am writing this. And, late in May of each year, when the ailanthus trees were in blossom, the street put up fresh curtains and red-washed the brick pavements. The cobblestones were swept, too. And then the procession came.
I was twelve, I think, before I began to get a lump in my throat as the long line of veterans went by. It was a long line then. I did not know exactly why I cried, except that those men and those tattered flags stood for something heroic and very sad. I know now, but it has taken years to put it into words, and in those years the line has shortened to a handful. Even the one-armed drummer has gone now. The street, which was rough and hard to march on in those days, has been made smooth for their feet, but few are left who can march to that quiet God’s-acre on the hill above.