United States Military Academy West Point - Howitzer Yearbook (West Point, NY)

 - Class of 1911

Page 11 of 306

 

United States Military Academy West Point - Howitzer Yearbook (West Point, NY) online yearbook collection, 1911 Edition, Page 11 of 306
Page 11 of 306



United States Military Academy West Point - Howitzer Yearbook (West Point, NY) online yearbook collection, 1911 Edition, Page 10
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United States Military Academy West Point - Howitzer Yearbook (West Point, NY) online yearbook collection, 1911 Edition, Page 12
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Page 11 text:

designed and erected large public buildings; reclaimed waste lands; conducted surveys; controlled and relieved great public disasters. Most of these things, and many more non-military activities, have been effected by Line officers alone; and to these must be added the great public works in the hands of the Scientific corps, including the greatest engineering operation of history. In all these labors the soldier is intimately in contact with the citizen; and more and more the old rigid line of separation between the two is disappearing, while the military profession is taking a practical position among the other activities of social and political life. Modern society is coming to appreciate the fact that there is a great and useful function in the energies and organized intelligence of a military class. As an object lesson of restraint and orderly control alone it serves as a fine moral tonic for society and operates as a perpetual check upon the violence of social impulse. When these militant influences are made operative on a whole people, as in the case of Germany and others, they become educative of a higher citizenship and energize the industrial and commercial life of a nation. The moral of all this lies in the demand for earnest and sympathetic study on the part of the soldier of the social, economic and political problems, whose solution in any form is bound to change the face of the world under his feet, and to transform the social order of which he is a part. Everywhere men are demanding readjustment and a new deal. The whole earth is awakening—the Orient with its swarming millions, and even Africa, but yesterday a dark jungle, are seeing a great light and rubbing their eyes. Never since man came upon earth have there been such doings, such a ferment among all peoples, such promise of great things to come. It is an inspiration to live in such a dawn and to be a part of such a transformation. Do not assume. Men of Nineteen-Eleven, that you have discharged your obligation to your country, society and yourselves by confining your attention to professional matters alone. A man who knows nothing but his job is only 5

Page 10 text:

the French Revolution; and it is to be borne in mind that the rate of change has shown no signs of decreasing. A single lifetime has been sufficient to span marvelous transformations in many fields of thought, of industry, of politics, of religion. It is this rushing, intensive, evolving, highly subjective world of mechanical activity, of skepticism, of scrutiny and investigation; with its tremendous problems clamoring for solution; its portent of still greater changes; its threat of social cataclysm; its insistent demand of every man for decision and action, that confronts you men of Nineteen-Eleven and your contemporaries. Always in the hand of Youth lies the shaping of the Future; but it is becoming more and more impossible for any man, young or old, to remain in our social system and evade an active personal participation in the solution of its issues. No matter what his vocation may be, he cannot retain his self-respect, and that of his fellows, and refuse his part in the common lot. And this applies to the soldier no less than to the civilian. Time was when the soldier was permitted neither heart nor head, but was wholly an autonomous caricature of a man a blind, marching, trigger-pulling and saluting machine operated by word of command and devoid of everything but mechanical impulse. This creature of wood was fitted only for the despotic purposes of tyrants, and has no place in a modern republic nor in the modern world at all. Not only does the military profession today require intelligence of a high order, initiative, judgment and discretion, of every commissioned officer, but of the enlisted man as well, and in our land the officer has not ceased to be a citizen in becoming a soldier; and burning questions of the day arc as intimately related to his responsibilities of command and his personal welfare as to the duties and interests of the civilian. Serving in such a complex civilization as ours, never can he tell what unusual duties he may be called upon to perform, nor what responsibilities he may be required to assume. Already the officers of our active Army have organized and administered civil governments, systems of public education, codes of law and civil courts, municipalities, customs services, steamship lines, railroads. They have built public roads ami bridges; constructed systems of sanitary engineering and telegraph lines; 4



Page 12 text:

half alive a lopsided and half-developed creature of restricted horizon and narrow prejudices. Have convictions upon all vital issues and don’t try to live on opinions merely particularly those of others. Convictions determine conduct; opinions determine compromise and expediency. A man without convictions regarding the great issues of existence is a flabby derelict on the ocean of life, useless to society and a menace to navigation. A man who has convictions, even if wrong, will always dominate him whose only motive power is opinion. What do you believe, what do you believe in. and why do you believe it? You are a part of your time and environment. You cannot escape their influences and the issues they present. Today holds a pistol at your head and demands your convictions. Out with them if you have any. Make them count for something in your lives. Every man is a center, however circumscribed, of influence and of effluence. Every act and thought, no matter how slight, irradiates waves of impulse throughout the universe, contributing their much or little to a resultant movement in the eternal evolution. If you have them not, and in the solution of your personal equation the value of your unknown quantity proves zero, you are ethically bankrupt; and Today will kick you contemptuously into the oblivion of Yesterday where you belong, fora man without convictions is the most pitiful thing on earth. This is the epoch of a great World Peace Movement which grows apace from day to day. The man of war is put on the defensive, and iscalled upon to justify his membership in the social system. War and the soldier are reprobated. and the military spirit is decried by ardent peace enthusiasts and non-resistance zealots who lay at the door of both the responsibility for most of the ills and a large share of the sins of the social organism. These well-meaning doctors of our sick times purpose curing our diseases by abolishing the symptoms. This peace movement is a hopeful sign of the evolution of society towards a higher plane of life—a harbinger of that universal brotherhood towards which all the ages have tended, and towards which Christianity points as man’s ultimate goal. But the propaganda against war and the denunciation of its evils are no new oracle. What constitutes their novelty and promise is their catholicity and organization; their 6

Suggestions in the United States Military Academy West Point - Howitzer Yearbook (West Point, NY) collection:

United States Military Academy West Point - Howitzer Yearbook (West Point, NY) online yearbook collection, 1908 Edition, Page 1

1908

United States Military Academy West Point - Howitzer Yearbook (West Point, NY) online yearbook collection, 1909 Edition, Page 1

1909

United States Military Academy West Point - Howitzer Yearbook (West Point, NY) online yearbook collection, 1910 Edition, Page 1

1910

United States Military Academy West Point - Howitzer Yearbook (West Point, NY) online yearbook collection, 1912 Edition, Page 1

1912

United States Military Academy West Point - Howitzer Yearbook (West Point, NY) online yearbook collection, 1913 Edition, Page 1

1913

United States Military Academy West Point - Howitzer Yearbook (West Point, NY) online yearbook collection, 1914 Edition, Page 1

1914

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