I know who Queen Elizabeth represents. I know she's the head of the British state. I know she has all sorts of titles in relation to different regiments in the British army. She knows my history. She knows I was a member of the IRA. She knows I was in conflict with her soldiers, yet both of us were prepared to rise above all of that.
There are two tendencies in all our war talk.... The first is to boast, if not of ourselves and our deeds, at least of our army, our corps, our regiments. The other is to find fault with, to criticize, to censure, to condemn others. If there is a victory, we gained it and must have the credit of it. If there is a failure, it was the fault of the other fellow,--he must be blamed for it.
Rutherford B. Hayes
Sir" said Mrs. Meade indignantly. "There are NO deserters in the Confederate army." "I beg your pardon," said Rhett with mock humility. "I meant those thousands on furlough who FORGOT to rejoin their regiments and those who have been over their wounds for six months but who remain at home, going about their usual business or doing the spring plowing.
Beneath a free government there is nothing but the intelligence of the people to keep the people's peace. Order must be preserved, not by a military police or regiments of horse-guards, but by the spontaneous concert of a well-informed population, resolved that the rights which have been rescued from despotism shall not be subverted by anarchy.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Politics Is the Entertainment Branch of Industry. C-SPAN's coverage of governmental proceedings is wonderful. Caution! Buffoons on the Hill! Wallowing in blabber and spew, regiments of ex-lawyers and used-car salesmen attempt to distract us from the naughty little surprises served up by deregulated corporate America.
Humanity's true purpose is not to become stronger physically, it's to become more intelligent-from armies, who increasingly fight with specialized units rather than regiments and tanks, to garage owners, who use a lot more than jacks to fix your engine. As intelligence prevails throughout humanity, maybe there'll be fewer wars and better cars.
But we were born of risen apes, not fallen angels, and the apes were armed killers besides. And so what shall we wonder at? Our murders and massacres and missiles, and our irreconcilable regiments? Or our treaties whatever they may be worth; our symphonies however seldom they may be played; our peaceful acres, however frequently they may be converted into battlefields; our dreams however rarely they may be accomplished. The miracle of man is not how far he has sunk but how magnificently he has risen. We are known among the stars by our poems, not our corpses.
There were many words that you could not stand to hear and finally only the names of places had dignity. Certain numbers were the same way and certain dates and these with the names of the places were all you could say and have them mean anything. Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene beside the concrete names of villages, the numbers of roads, the names of rivers, the numbers of regiments and the dates.
Ten thousand officers and men named Smith died in the First World War. One thousand four hundred Campbells died, six thousand Joneses, and one thousand Murphys. Smith, Campbell, Jones and Murphy: the names of the United Kingdom, whose presence in regiments from all four countries speaks of the ebb and flow of peoples within these islands, of a common sacrifice, and a shared agony that burned in so many million hearts down the decades.
But in Friendship, being free of all that, we think we have chosen our peers. In reality, a few years' difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another, posting to different regiments, the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting-any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances. A secret Master of the Ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you," can truly say to every group of Christian friends "You have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another." The Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others. They are no greater than the beauties of a thousand other men; by Friendship God opens our eyes to them. They are, like all beauties, derived from Him, and then, in a good Friendship, increased by Him through the Friendship itself, so that it is His instrument for creating as well as for revealing.