Dedication of Honor Roll
The following papers were presented at the Dedication of the "Honor Roll" of soldier boys by Mr. Carl Velte and Mrs. Maud Reeves, at the Congregational church on Sunday, September 9th.
As one of our statesmen has fittingly remarked, "a nation’s progress can readily be told by the milestones set in its history." Several of these important periods stand out very plainly in America’s history, and one more was added to its credit when it entered this world conflict last April. By this act it registered its solemn vow against the policy of the "Hohenzallern" and it ready now to defend with all the power at its command the old principle adopted at its birth—"a government of the people, by the people and for the people."
No other course was left for our government to pursue, and it was a fitting remark of our president in closing his address to congress by using the words of a great German reformer, "So help me God, I can’t do otherwise." For making democracy safe for this nation and the world America has called for the most sacred possession—the manhood and womanhood of its people, and most nobly they are responding.
So, today we see it fit to honor those who have gone at their country’s call. They have responded to duty’s call and have given us their answer; action only, not idle words, will fight the great military power of Europe. If a good christian character in men is necessary to make good citizens in times of peace it is of greater importance for the soldeir to possess this christian attribute. By having their names on our church roll, these young men give testimony that Christ came for the redemption of the world and may we all hope that htis great conflict in which they are now participants, will be a means to hasten the day when wars shall be no more.
All biblical as well as profane history records the fact that all conflicts marking a step forward in the progress of humanity were fought by men of faith; so may not we take it as a privilege, rather than a sacrifice and hardship, to have a part in this conflict of lifting the suffering nations of Europe out of militarism and restoring to them certain invaluable rights, namely, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
We meet today in a new sort of service, the first one of its kind any of us have ever attended, probably. To give honor where honor is due, is our object at this time.
It seems to me that it is not fitting that I should take part in such a service, and if it seems like praising my own family you can blame those who asked for it, for I certainly intend to use this opportunity of ascribing praise and admiration to the men whose names appear on this Honor Roll.
To some of you, their going may mean the continuation of your lives in their peaceful pursuits, the guaranty of the liberty which you prize so highly.
To others of you, the going of these men means the privilege of staying at home and the enjoyment of the things, which they have given up, but which they hold just as dear as do you. They have made the supreme sacrifice, "Greater loyalty hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his country." But they have gone gladly, with a smile on their lips, tho an ache in their hearts; to fight our battles, regardless of party of politics. As a town, we have reason to be proud of the large number of volunteers.
Personally, I do not agree with the general opinion, that the army consists of the undesirables and the riff-raff of humanity. I believe our armies are made of different stuff.
And while we are ascribing praise to these men, let us do it in the right spirit, let us admire their devotion to country and duty, but guard against any mawkish sentimentality. There is an article in the August number of the "Union Worker" called "A New War Problem," which every mother and father should read and ponder.
Some of these men are peculiarly our own, they have grown up in our Sunday school. We are proud of them and expect to see them make clean records.
These men on the "Honor Roll" are part of America’s manhood which is on the march against tyranny and oppression. The hope of the world rests with them and their comrades, and the strength as well as the love and devotion of a mighty nation will support them.