The God In Man
A soldier on the firing step, aiming at the enemy, is suddenly struck;
and he drops down to the bottom of the trench. His nearest comrade must
keep on firing, but two stretcher-bearers are ready at their posts.
They rush forward, take the first-aid packet from the soldier's pocket,
cut his clothes away from the wound, and quickly dress it. They carry
him to the trench doctor, who treats the wound again. Then they take
he soldier from the trenches to the nearest field ambulance, where his
wound is again cared for.
He is so badly hurt that he needs to recover far from the sound of the
thundering cannon. But he is not so seriously injured that he cannot
stand a short journey. So he is placed, as comfortably as possible, in
an ambulance train, with skilled Red Cross nurses to attend to him. The
train arrives just in time to meet the hospital ship at the port. The
soldier is carried on board, and soon finds himself in a quiet hospital
in London--all in little more than twenty-four hours, a day and a
So thousands of men have been cared for each week, by a never-ending
line of devoted Red Cross stretcher-bearers, doctors, and nurses, on
the battlefield, on the trains, on hospital ships, and in the home
hospitals, in London, and in every fighting country in the world.
Somewhat back from the lines are the stationary hospitals, where many
soldiers are left who cannot be carried farther, but must be treated
there. "Mushroom hospitals" they are called; for, although they have
the appearance of having been there before, they really have sprung up
only since the war started. The wards are spotlessly clean, filled with
rows and rows of beds, also spotlessly clean. Beyond are the operating
rooms, baths, kitchens, and gardens filled with flowers, where the
wounded men may breathe fresh air and get back the strength which they
have so willingly lost in service. All the time, hundreds of new
patients are arriving, hundreds are leaving, either to go to more
distant hospitals, or to go back to the lines to fight.
In comes one soldier who does not see or know where he is, nor who it
was that brought him. But when at last he opens his eyes, he finds
himself in a spotlessly clean white bed for the first time in months.
He looks about, and yes, there is Bobby, his own pet collie, sitting
beside him. He had lost him when he went over the top in the fight; but
somehow Bobby had followed him here, and somebody had been kind enough
to let him stay beside his master in this clean and pleasant room.
By and by the wounded soldier grows well enough to be carried out into
the garden. There he and Bobby sit and watch the men caring for the
flowers. These men are not hired; they are wounded soldiers helping
about the hospital. The garden itself was made by a soldier who was a
gardener before the war. Every man helps with his knowledge of some
trade. The napkin rings and salt cellars used in the hospital were made
by a soldier tinsmith out of old biscuit boxes.
One day our wounded soldier becomes so well that he may walk away with
Bobby, and a nurse brings him his suit, his rifle, and all his
equipment, nicely cleansed and put in order.
So everybody does his bit in the hospitals. Dentists and
eye-specialists, surgeons and nurses, wearing the Red Cross, work
tirelessly from morning till night and sometimes both day and night, to
save the brave wounded men. They do their work as best they can,
sweetly and cheerfully, caring for the German soldiers as well as for
their own Allied soldiers. To know of them, to watch them in their work
of mercy, is to realize that there is something different from the
beast in man--there is the God in man, the spirit of love and tender,
skillful care, which they dare to give in the face of awful danger.
One of the brave nurses wrote home to America something of all she was
doing. Among many things, she said: "The Huns were pouring down in
streams to attack our men. I immediately began to get the hospital
ready to receive the wounded.
"Our surgeon was away on leave, but another equally good arrived. On
Tuesday, the wounded men began to come in. Wednesday and Thursday I
served from early morning until midnight. Bombs were bursting in the
distance, and news came that the Huns were within a few miles of us.
"A Red Cross unit came, and one English nurse arrived to help us. She
had lost the others in her party, and had walked miles to get here. It
seemed as if God had sent them all from heaven!
"All the surgical supplies that I could save from those you sent me
from the Red Cross, I had put away for emergency. I don't know what we
would have done without them!
"I had to see that the surgeons had whatever they needed, and from all
sides every one was calling for help. Through it all, I was up every
morning at four and never went to bed till midnight. The cannon were
roaring, star shells exploding, bombs dropping around us,--but nothing
"For eight days our men fought gloriously. They were a wonder and such
a surprise to the Huns. Now perhaps they know what they have to face!
"The little hospital was able to save many, many lives. We have sent
away most of our wounded to-day, and are now waiting in suspense for
what may come next--but we are ready to do our best, whatever comes.
"We do not dare keep the seriously wounded now for any length of time,
for no one knows when the Huns may fight their way through. We know
what the 'front line' really means. No one goes in or out except by
military or Red Cross camion. No private telegrams can be sent, and to
our joy, we do not have to bother with food-ration cards, for a while
at least. Boches are over our heads all day, and cannons booming. I
am so used to it now that I don't mind it.
"I am so homesick to see you all, but I will not leave my work until
the end of this horrible war, if God will give me health and strength.
Don't worry. I intend to stick to my post to the end, and if the Huns
come down upon us, the Red Cross will get us out."
Nor are these all of the ways in which the Red Cross shows the God in
man. From the beginning of the war until March, 1918, over $36,000,000
of American money alone was spent in the following ways:
Established rest stations along all routes followed by the
American troops in France.
Built canteens for use of French and American soldiers at the
front, also at railroad junctions and in Paris.
Supplied American troops with comfort kits and sent them
Established a hospital-distributing service that supplies 3423
French military hospitals, and a surgical dressing service that
Provided an artificial-limb factory and special plants for the
manufacture of splints and nitrous oxide gas.
Established a casualty service for gathering information in
regard to wounded and missing, this information to be sent to
Opened a children's refuge hospital in the war zone and
established a medical and traveling center to accommodate 1200
children in the reconquered sections of France. Fifty thousand
children throughout France are being cared for in some measure
by the Red Cross.
Planned extensive reclamation work in the invaded sections of
France from which the enemy has been driven; this work is now
being carried out with the coÃ¶peration of the Society of Friends
and alumnÃ¦ units from Smith College and other colleges.
Established a large central warehouse in Paris and numerous
warehouses at important points from the sea to the Swiss border,
for storing of hospital supplies, food, soldiers' comforts,
tobacco, blankets, clothing, beds, and other articles of relief.
Secured and operated 400 motor cars for the distribution of
Opened a hospital and convalescent home for children; also
established an ambulance service for the adult refugees, who are
now returning from points within the German lines at the rate of
1000 a day.
Improved health conditions in the American war zone before the
coming of American troops.
Started reconstruction work in reconquered territory, supplying
returned refugees with temporary dwellings, tools, furniture,
farm animals, and supplies essential to giving them a fresh
start in life.
Appropriated $600,000 for the relief of Belgian children,
covering their removal from territories under bombardment and
the establishment and maintenance of them in colonies.
Provided funds for the operation of a hospital for wounded
Belgian soldiers and for part of the equipment of a typhoid
Provided the Italian army with 60 ambulances, 40 trucks, and 100
Contracted for 10 field hospitals complete for use by the Sanita
Militaire and the Italian Red Cross.
Supplied 1,000,000 surgical dressings. Opened relief
headquarters in 9 districts of Italy.
Established a hospital for refugees at Rimini.
Planned and made appropriations for extensive work among the
refugees in all parts of Italy.
Rushed more than $100,000 worth of medical supplies and
foodstuffs into Roumania immediately after the retreat to Jassy.
Carried general relief work into every part of the stricken
country not invaded by the Teuton and Bulgarian forces.
UNITED STATES, $8,589,899.
Organized and trained 45 ambulance companies, totaling 5580 men,
for service with American soldiers and sailors.
Built and maintained four laboratory cars for emergency use in
stamping out epidemics at cantonments and training camps.
Started work of bettering sanitary conditions in the zones
immediately surrounding the cantonments.
Established camp service bureaus to look out for comfort and
welfare of soldiers in training.
Supplied 2,000,000 sweaters to soldiers and sailors.
Mobilized 14,000 trained nurses for care of our men.
Established a department of Home Service and opened training
schools for workers.
Planned convalescent houses at all cantonments and training
camps. Increased membership from scant half million to
For War Relief in other countries, including
Great Britain, Russia, and Serbia $7,581,075
To supply food to American prisoners in
For supplies purchased for shipment abroad $15,000,000
The Jewish Relief Societies of this country have also forwarded large
sums of money to relieve the terrible suffering among their people in
Russia, Poland, Turkey, Palestine, and others of the war-stricken
countries. Approximately $24,000,000 was sent abroad for this purpose
during the first four years of the war.
One evening the train drew into the station of a little town in France.
It stopped long enough for half a hundred tired, dusty soldiers to gain
the platform, then puffed away out of sight. They were not the fighting
soldiers--they were engineers. The men looked about in a bewildered way
for the train with which they were supposed to connect. But it was
nowhere in sight; it had gone. They were sorry not to meet the rest of
their company, but there was nothing for them to do but remain in the
town overnight. They walked the streets, and found that every hotel,
boarding house, and private home was filled to the last cot. Thousands
of American troops were in the town, on their way to the front. The
engineers had ridden for many hours and were very hungry, but their
pockets were nearly empty.
Suddenly they stopped before a large building painted a deep blue, and
bearing the sign,
Knights of Columbus
The half a hundred men walked in, passed group after group of soldiers
and sailors, and found the secretary. Soon they were dining on Knights
of Columbus ham and eggs, without money and without price! The
secretary himself served them.
They entered the large lounging room, found tables covered with good
reading books, easy chairs and writing benches set about the room, and
a stage at the back with piano, victrola, and a moving picture screen.
So when they least expected it, but most wanted it, they found a place
that seemed like home. Knights of Comfort, the Knights of Columbus have
been called, and comfort they have given to thousands of soldiers and
sailors. About $50,000,000 has been raised by the society for one year
of such good work.
Almost on the very battleground is another source of comfort to the
fighting men,--the little huts with the sign of the Red Triangle,--the
Y.M.C.A. There is hardly one American home which has not received from
some soldier a letter on paper marked with the little red triangle.
Thousands have been written at the benches inside the huts, and
thousands of books and magazines found in the huts have been read in
spare time by the soldier lads.
Usually only the paper for letter writing is furnished at the huts, and
the men buy their postage stamps. Often fifty to a hundred men are in
line to purchase stamps, so that at times the secretary heaves a sigh
of relief when at last he has to hang up the sign "Stamps All Out." In
one hut as many as three thousand letters have been handled in one day,
besides parcel-post packages, registered letters, and money-orders.
The United States government has realized the valuable services of the
society and recognized it officially, permitting its men to wear the
uniform, and to accompany the soldiers right into the trenches.
Often before and always after the men go into battle, the "Y" workers
bring up great kettles of hot chocolate and a store of biscuit. This is
a godsend to the men who have been fighting for hours with little, if
anything, to eat.
Passing over the battlefield, the workers write down messages from
wounded and dying men, to be sent to their relatives. They learn all
they can about those who have been taken prisoners, and so bring
comfort to the people at home.
The secretaries send to the United States free of charge money from
the soldiers to their home folks. In one month, a million dollars was
brought to the Y.M.C.A. with the simple instructions that it be
delivered to addresses given by the soldiers. The controller of the New
York Life Insurance Company in France has had charge of this.
The association has nearly 400 motor trucks engaged in various kinds of
transport work. It aids greatly in caring for and entertaining the
soldiers, as many as 4000 of them at a time. It has opened many hotels
in France, four of them in Paris, and owns several factories for the
making of chocolate. It holds religious services for the men, providing
preachers of all the different faiths. So it, too, shares in the
godlike services of the Red Cross and Knights of Columbus.
Near the trenches and at training camps, other work has been done
similar to that of the Y.M.C.A. and Knights of Columbus, by the
Salvation Army. The soldier boys have especially enjoyed the doughnuts
and pies furnished them by this society.
It has, it is said, placed 153 comfort and refreshment huts at the
front in Europe, and is building many more. It maintains about 80
military homes, caring for about 100,000 men each week. It operates
nearly 50 ambulances. Over 700 of its members are devoting their lives
to war work in the trenches and at the camps. It was the first, it is
said, of the societies of mercy at the front, and spent for the work
mentioned $1,000,000, all made up of nickels and dimes of small givers,
before the society made any "drive" for funds.
Letters from officials, friends, and soldier boys tell what glorious
work these and other similar societies have done and are doing. They
bring a little touch of heaven into the very worst places and
conditions, and show the God in man.
IN FLANDERS FIELDS
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
LIEUTENANT-COLONEL JOHN MCCRAE.