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War Stories

What One American Did
If a person had been standing one night beside the railroad...

She is a wall of brass; You shall not pass! You sh...

He hurried away, young heart of joy, under our Devon sk...

Bacilli And Bullets
Sir William Osler, one of the greatest medical men in the w...

The Battles Of The Marne
At Marathon (490 B.C.) and at Salamis (480 B.C.) the Greeks...

Marshal Joffre
The greatest leaders in history are often men who for the l...

Let Us Save The Kiddies
At 12:20 noon, on Saturday, May 1, 1915, there steamed out ...

The Destruction Of Louvain
More than one hundred years ago, Napoleon, the famous Frenc...

Marshal Foch
A Great German philosopher said many years ago that history...

The Beast In Man
A German leader once said, "The oldest right in the world i...

Although I am an American, I am still in the French aviatio...

Rupert Brooke
Among the losses that the World War has caused--many of the...

Alan Seeger
As England and the world lost Rupert Brooke, so America and...

The God In Man
A soldier on the firing step, aiming at the enemy, is sudde...

A Belgian Lawyer's Appeal
One of the great lawyers of Belgium in behalf of the member...

General Pershing
In April, 1917, a small group of men in civilian dress clim...

Defense Of LiÉge
To Germany's unfair and treacherous proposal that Belgium b...

A Place In The Sun
The history of Rome about 1500 years ago tells us of "the w...

The Hun Target The Red Cross
All the civilized nations of the world have agreed to respe...

Nations And The Moral Law
I believe there is no permanent greatness to a nation excep...

Alan Seeger

As England and the world lost Rupert Brooke, so America and the world
lost Alan Seeger. English poetry and lovers of beauty expressed in
verse are losers to a greater extent than we can ever know.

It is not strange that these two young poets should have enlisted at
the very beginning of the war, for they recognized what high-minded men
mean by noblesse oblige. Much having been given you, much is expected
from you. Those of the highest education should show the way to those
less favored. So Rupert Brooke enlisted in the English navy, and Alan
Seeger enlisted in the French army as one of the Foreign Legion.

He felt he owed a debt to France that could only be paid by helping her
in her struggle for life and liberty. He gave his life, at the age of
twenty-eight, to pay the debt.

Alan Seeger lived a life like that of many other American boys. At
Staten Island where he passed his first years, he could see every day
the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, the skyscrapers of New York,
the ferry boats to the Jersey shore, the great ocean liners inward
bound and outward bound,--all the great and significant things that say
"America" to one landing for the first time at the greatest seaport of
the world. Later he lived in New York and attended the Horace Mann
School. His vacations were spent among the hills and mountains of New
Hampshire and in southern California. He fitted for college at a famous
preparatory school at Tarrytown on the Hudson, attended Harvard
College, and after graduation lived for two years in New York City. All
this is American, and thousands of other American boys have passed
through the same or a similar experience.

Alan Seeger was romantic. So are most boys. But with most boys, romance
goes no further than books and dreams. "Robinson Crusoe," "Huckleberry
Finn," "Treasure Island," and other tales of adventure and of foreign
lands are all the romance that many know. But, like Rupert Brooke, Alan
Seeger had the opportunity to live romance, as he always declared he
would do. He found it in his life as a boy in Mexico, as a young man in
Paris, and in the Foreign Legion of the French army. The Foreign Legion
was made up of foreigners in France who volunteered to fight with the
French army. Its story is a stirring one of brave deeds and tremendous
losses. To have belonged to it is a great glory.

Alan Seeger enjoyed life and found the world exceedingly beautiful. He

From a boy
I gloated on existence. Earth to me
Seemed all sufficient, and my sojourn there
One trembling opportunity for joy.

Like Rupert Brooke, he thought often of Death, which he feared not at
all. In his beautiful poem entitled, "I Have a Rendezvous with Death,"
he looked forward to his own death in the spring of 1916. He lost his
life on July 4 of that year while storming the village of
Belloy-en-Santerre. The first two stanzas are as follows:

I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple blossoms fill the air--
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair

It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath--
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow flowers appear.

Alan Seeger has written two poems that all Americans should know. One
is entitled "Ode in Memory of the American Volunteers Fallen for
France." It was to have been read before the statue of Lafayette and
Washington in Paris, on Memorial Day, 1916; but permission to go to
Paris to read it did not reach Seeger in time, to the disappointment of
him and many others. It is perhaps the best long poem Seeger has
written, although "Champagne, 1914-15" is by many ranked ahead of it.

* * * * *

"A man is judged and ranked by that which he considers to be of the
greatest value. Some men believe it is knowledge, and spend their lives
in study and research; some think it is beauty, and vainly seek to
capture it and hold it in song, poem, statue, or painting; some say it
is goodness, and devote their lives to service, self-denial, and
sacrifice; some declare it is life itself, and therefore never kill any
creature and always carefully protect their own lives from disease and
danger; and some are sure it is being true to the best knowledge, the
greatest beauty, the highest good that one can know and feel and
realize; for this alone is life, and times come when the only way to
save one's life is to lose it."



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