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Wednesday, February 5, 2003
War In Times of Peace
By Nathaniel P. Conrey, For The Daily Republican

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

    [Editor's Note: This editorial was originally pubnlished on February 5, 1918.]

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