For God and Country





Duty - Valor


 The Battle

        "So on we went; and now I could see that out ahead of their wire were the enemy hordes with bayonets fixed, and rushing to meet our strength. We heard the cry of the women and children of the sinking Lusitanian! We heard the horrible death moans of the women and children of Belgium! Behold! On the smoke there flashed the plains of Gethsemane ... the Cross ... to His bleeding side the cloth and vinegar laid! "On, my boy, on!"  I thrust my bayonet ... fired and fought ... my buddies came in like a hurricane. The blood of America was streaming hot! The enemy surged in as a flood of hate and fought,

and fought hard. Thank God for that, for the victory would be greater. We felt their steel and bled from it, but our men were forcing them back! I felt a scourge ... my bowels were stabbed, but I got him, and flew at the next! A counter rush ... they were clamboring back to avenge the toll in their ranks. But our men were firm and bored in again. I couldn't help them then. A rifle butt had caught me hard and crashed me down in a heap. Was I to fail ... was my strength all spent?  The thought burned into my very soul. My eyes caught up the move of the Yanks ... they were driving in again! And up I got, I know not how and staggered in once more. The smoke of powder burned and choked! But Look! There was a Yank in the wire! He had fought them back and followed his nick that he made in the enemy line. He was firing now from his trap of death ... but they got him ... filled him with lead.


        "I made a dash to take his place, and carry on his fire ... but a cry went up ... the cry of the conquered! The enemy gave up the sword! The man in the wire had given his life to break down the will of might. He had forged ahead and broken through ... he had split the heart of the autocracy! He laid there limp in the jagged wire ... I reached for him, and behold! Three gray-haired soldiers were lifting him up and they placed him in the arms of an angel. Three gray haired soldiers of days gone by, whose spirit had won this day. They had pointed us on and banished our fears and filled our veins with courage. There was one with the hat of '76, and one in blue ... one in gray.


       "My eye beheld that group ascend with the smoke of the silenced guns. Then I saw them pointing to the west where a burst of light was showing. The shies were all aglow with gold and the sound of bells was heard. Peace! Peace had returned to the war - torn world ... the sword was again in its sheath. O beheld in the folds of the glistening skies the pride of my heart in the homeland. I saw the Matchless City that crowns the graceful hills of Iowa's western borderland. Its towers and homes stood aglow in pride of purpose. Fathers and mothers were bent low, but Old Glory was high in the breeze."


"O, Beautiful for spacious skies,

for amber waves of grain ..."




Eighteen - Nineteen


~ scanned and submitted by Paula Hinkel