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Page 152 text:
Military Oration The Spirit Shown by the Soldier; Ought it not to be Rewarded? BY E. HALE CLARK. ONE hiuidi-ed and twenty years ago our country being under the tyr- anny of an English ruler, was inspired to overthrow this monar- chical government, and to gain for itself, if possible, the title of a free country. What was it but patriotism and love of country that prompted this action of the colonies, a desire burning within each individual to stand against the exactions of an English ruler, and to show that, though governed, they were not to be made slaves, working here or there, and doing whatever might be commanded, without any rights whatever? But it is not this early struggle that now claims our attention, but rather that of a later day, when our country, which our forefathers had so bravely fought to save, was threatened with disunion, when the North and the South were arrayed against each other in bloody battle, bringing disaster, and ruin, and countless loss of human life. It was at this time that our country passed through the agonies of bitter trial. On the one hand we had a few States striving to uphold the Govern- ment in the interests of freedom, on the other a " solid South, " as it is often called, in which slavery was the ruling power. Do we wonder that when President Lincoln called for troops to maintain the Union, so many loyal citizens left home and friends, whom perhaps they might never see again, to face the foe and to secure for our country perpetual union and prosperity. But what was it that prompted this vast army of men to risk their lives in fighting for our country? Was it not the same spirit that animated the Revolutionary fathers, — a spirit of patriotism instilled into the minds of all ? They foresaw the long, weary marches, the days and nights passed without rest and ahnost without food, when footsore and weary they pushed 140
Page 151 text:
Class Day ORDER OF EXERCISES. Music by the M. A. C. Band. Ivy Song. Planting of the Class Ivj Pres. Jasper Marsh. Prajer Dr. C S. Walker. Ivy Poem . . • . . . . . . . . D. C. Potter. Music by the M. A. C. Band. Class Oration F. L. Warren. Class Song. Campus Oration H. A, Bali.ou. Campus Poem T. P. Foley. Pipe Oration ' . . A. F. Burgess. Presentation of Gifts ........ W. A. Root. Parting Song. Music by the M. A. C. Band. 139
Page 153 text:
forward they knew not whither, only knowing that they were to fight for their country ' s welfare, and, come what might, to face the foe to the bitter end. Many a march was undei ' gone and followed by fierce battle when hour after hour, without rest or sleep, they pressed forward against the foe. Did they falter? No. Onward, was their motto; hei-e was some steep cliff they must climb, there some fort to be captured. Can we be surprised that besides those who were killed in battle so many died from sheer exhaustion ? Ho-w was it in the battle itself? Did one part of our army falter and an- other go forward? No. Shoulder to shoulder the men stood, side by side they fought, with this spirit of patriotism and love of country ever present, spuring them on, here to a final charge, there to a task apparently impossible. Can you not see the soldiers as they were marching amid the roar of cannon and the whizzing of musket balls, ever struggling onward over some fallen comrade, but still clinging to that one hope of union and prosperity? How many of us to-day would undergo such hardships and privations? But the question now comes to us, ought not the soldier who survives to-day, the man who left his home and fought so bravely for our country, to be rewarded ? Does it not require a strong will, a firm determination, to go forth to such perils as these ? To run the risk of being captured and thrust into such prisons as Andersonville and Libby, there to remain perhaps one week and perhaps a year ! Ask yourself these questions, and then say whether the veteran soldier ought not to be i ewarded ? Think of the cruelty, the starvation, to which the soldier was subject in that Southern dungeon at Andersonville ; man after man was carried there and compelled to stand or lie during the day in the sand, beneath that burning Southern sun, without even a shelter for his head. Think of such cruelties as these, people of Massachusetts, and answer the question, shall we reward the veteran soldier? Think of the many times that the soldier was compelled to face the storm of battle ; did his courage fail, or did he march onward, ever rallying around the stars and stripes as they floated above his head and ever shouting for victory and union ? Look back to the pages of history and read the result of such battles as Antietam, Gettysburg, and Petersburg, and this question will be easily answered, and the veteran soldier will be held by all in most grateful remembrance. The world looks back to that four-years ' 141
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