I Knew You Would Come





We are all very proud that America was permitted to have a share in the

holiest defensive war ever known. Then let us also remember that our

share in it was largely made possible by England. While we hesitated,

considered, debated, who was it that maintained the freedom of the seas

and kept inviolate our coasts? The great, gallant, modest navy of

Great Britain.



Despite her desperate need of us England uttered no reproaches, and she

never seemed to doubt our final decision. It recalls an incident which

I discussed with British officers as I stood with them in a concealed

observation post on a summit of Vimy Ridge in September. On a dark

night a raid on the German trenches was made, and in the party were two

brothers, English lads. The raid was successful, but when the men

returned one of the brothers was missing. The other pleaded for

permission to return and bring him in. The colonel refused on the

ground that the attempt would be both dangerous and fruitless.

Finally, he yielded to the lad's passionate pleading, and the young

soldier crawled out into No Man's Land, returning a half hour later

with a machine gun bullet in his shoulder, yet gently carrying the

brother, whose spirit rose to the ranks of the greater army just as

they reached the trench. You see, my boy, said the colonel, it was

useless, your brother is gone, and you are wounded. No, colonel,

replied the lad, it was not useless. I had my reward, for just as I

found him out there, he said, 'Is that you, Tom? I knew you would

come.'



This seems a fitting moment not only to thank God that we came in time

to be of service, but to thank England for her patience and her

confidence which have never failed. If after entering the war we are

gratified at placing two million men quickly upon the battlefield, let

us remember that nearly 1,200,000 of them were transported in British

vessels and convoyed by British warships.



America is beginning to know England. We honored her before; we felt

the tie of blood and speech; we were grateful to her for most of our

best. But we never knew England as we know her now. That first

hundred thousand that gladly flung their lives away for righteousness'

sake; the happy lads of Oxford and Cambridge who gave their joyous

youth that joy might not depart from earth; the colonials who came from

the ends of the world that the old mother might live, and that honor

and justice should not perish; these have added brighter pages to

England's records of glory. Today one knows England better and one is

very proud to be her ally. For the light which shines from England is

steadfast faithfulness to plighted honor, to the safety of her

children, and to those ideals of civilization of which she has for

centuries been the chief and responsible custodian.



REV. ERNEST M. STIPES, D.D.

From The Churchman, N. Y.





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