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World Wars

Sergeant York Of Tennessee
People will always differ as to what was the most remarkable ...

The United States At War--at Home
When any nation declares war, it immediately brings upon itse...

The First To Fall In Battle
During the trench warfare, it was customary to raid the enemy...

The Miner And The Tiger
On an October day in 1866, David Lloyd George, then a little ...

The United States Marines
Our flag's unfurled to every breeze From dawn to setti...

The Poilu
The soldier of France, the poilu, is a crusader. He is fight...

Song Of The Aviator
(This poem was written for an entertainment given by the Y.M....

At The Front
What one soldier writes, millions have experienced. At f...

Blocking The Channel
Bruges is an important city of Belgium made familiar to Ameri...

Where Are You Going Great-heart?
Where are you going, Great-Heart, With your eager face...

Why The United States Entered The War
The United States was slow to enter the war, because her peop...

Waiting For The Flash
Not at once can the mind grasp the full significance of the w...

The Tommy
John Masefield, the English writer, says, St. George did not ...

In Memoriam
[THE FIGHTING YEARS, 1914-1918] Ring out, wild bells, ...

Vive La France 1
The determination of the people of Alsace and Lorraine not ...

America Comes In
We are coming from the ranch, from the city and the mine, ...

Harry Lauder Sings
Harry Lauder, an extremely popular Scotch singer and entertai...

So nigh is grandeur to our dust, So near is God to man...

On slight pretext, Germany in 1864 and in 1866 had made wars ...

The Call To Arms In Our Street
There's a woman sobs her heart out, With her head agains...

The Second Line Of Defense

In Norwich, England, stands a memorial which will forever be visited
and prized by travelers from every part of the world, and especially by
the people of England and of Belgium. It is the statue erected to
Edith Cavell, the British nurse who was wrongfully condemned to death
for helping innocent women and children to escape from the terrible
cruelties of the invading Huns. That her fine courage equals the
bravery of any soldier is indicated in the sculptor's work itself. It
represents a soldier of the Allies looking up toward her strong, kindly
face, raising in his right hand a laurel wreath to place at one side of
her, opposite the one already hung at the other.

The statue is a symbol of the glorious deeds and the beautiful spirit
of the women of France, England, and America, during the awful
conflict. It is difficult to realize the complete revolution which
took place in the lives of the women of the world when they awakened to
the need for their services in connection with the war.

In forsaken schoolhouses and barns, as well as in quickly erected
hospitals, near the firing lines, they moved quietly in and out among
the patients, administering needed medicines, bringing cheer and
comfort to the long line of wounded soldiers. At unexpected moments
the hospital was bombarded, making it necessary for them hurriedly to
transfer their patients to some other building. During a bombardment
of a large theater which had been turned into a hospital, several
patients were too ill to be moved. So some of the nurses, wearing
steel helmets, remained to care for these men while shells burst all
around them.

[Illustration: This memorial to the memory of Edith Cavell was unveiled
by Queen Alexandra in Norwich, England, at the opening of the Nurse
Cavell Memorial Home. The statue and the home for district nurses are
constant reminders of the nurse, a brave victim of Prussian despotism,
who lived a patriot and died a martyr.]

Certain dressing stations in which the nurses cared for the most
seriously wounded were so near the firing line that the men could be
carried to them. Summoned, perhaps by a Red Cross dog, a nurse at
times ventured out under the enemy's fire. In the fields or woods lay
a badly injured man who must have constant care until darkness would
permit bringing him in unseen by the enemy, for the Huns spared neither
the wounded nor the Red Cross workers.

In the operating rooms, in hospital kitchens, on hospital trains and
ships, the nurses gave no thought for their own safety but worked
untiringly to save the wounded.

But even thousands of miles from the firing line, women were saving
lives and winning the victory. There were the girls who assisted the
police in the places of the men gone to fight. Gloriously they served
during many an air raid over France and England, ready in the face of
danger to do their full duty,--like those of Paris, who behaved so
bravely that some one suggested they be mentioned in the Orders of the
Day. But the commanding officer's reply only reflected the daring
spirit of the girls themselves. No, he said, we never mention
soldiers in orders for doing their duty.

There were the women and girls who went to work in fireproof overalls,
stopping before entering the shop to be inspected and to give up all
jewelry, steel hairpins, and anything else which might cause an
explosion of the munitions among which they worked. They might be seen
often with their hair hanging in braids as they hurried to and fro
between the different sheds, over the narrow wooden platforms, raised
from the ground to prevent them from carrying in on the soles of their
shoes any particles of grit, iron, steel, or glass, that might cause a
spark among the high explosives. So well did these women work that
near the end of the war in many places more shells were made in two
weeks than previously could be made in a year. The many women,
willingly risking their lives in these shops, made this work possible.
In England alone, where seventy-five out of every hundred men stepped
out to fight, seventy-five out of a hundred women and girls left their
homes and stepped in to work or to serve.

More tiresome were the long hours spent at machines in large closed
factories where army blankets and clothing of all sorts were turned out
for the use of the fighting men.

Out on the farms the girls could be seen in overalls, plowing furrows
in long, sloping fields, and planting potatoes and vegetables to help
feed the world. With hard work and small pay, they too helped win the
victory. One girl tells how on arriving home from work one night, she
found at the house a letter from a friend.

How jolly it must be, she wrote, and how you must be enjoying it!
That day had been particularly cold and wet and windy, but the girls
had worked right through it. When they had finished, they were damp
and weary and only glad that it was time for tea. I don't feel a bit
patriotic, said the girl, and I don't care if I never plant another
potato. She was an artist and found farm life very different from
sitting in a quiet studio. But planting potatoes was more helpful to
her country and so the next morning found her up early and ready to
work again.

Like this artist many women, unused to common labor, gladly left lives
of ease and good times to help win the war even by drudgery. In the
case of English women this was particularly true, and would have been
true in America if the war had continued much longer. As it was, the
women of America responded to the call of service with the same spirit
which sent millions of men to the colors. Besides those positions
which, left open by men going into war, were filled by women, countless
services were performed by them to add to the comfort and happiness of
soldiers, sailors, and marines. Knitted articles were made for the
needy in the service, and for the destitute in the ravaged war
countries. Not a canteen in the whole United States but has seen the
untiring devotion of weary workers who whole-heartedly sacrificed their
time and household comforts. In Europe the Salvation Army lassies
worked in the trenches themselves. Hospitals everywhere have been made
more grateful sanctuaries by the tender reassurance of the American
nurse. As if by one voice the fighters of the nation unite in praise
and appreciation of all the women who by their help made the second
line of defense.

[Illustration: Somewhere in France these Salvation Army lassies are
baking pies and doughnuts for the doughboys. Their kitchen is set up
in a part of the trenches under constant fire from the German guns.
You can see their box respirators, or gas-masks, worn at the alert
position. Home cooking for the soldiers made home itself seem not so
far away after all!]

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