Salute to a Soldier
Out in America's own Sahara,
Under a beating, pitiless sun,
Told to subsist on a pint of water -
Proving so gallantly it can be done
Marches a Corporal, dear to his mother,
Giving in stamina, mettle his all -
Living the words of Patrick Henry;
And so we salute you, Howard McCall!
I just had to write a little salute to the first soldier whose name was sent to me by his mother. After writing that letter to the Press last weekend, I had many misgivings, and came within an ace of wiring Mr. Walker to squash it - so afraid you might think I was out peddling my wares, so to speak. But I searched my own heart, and knew that my intentions were good - so I let the impulsive offer stand. You can be sure that I have prayed as never before, "Lord, stand by me. Put the right thoughts into my heart and mind to say to these brave young soldiers, pouring their fine young vitality into the cause of liberty and future peace." Like an answer to prayer came this message yesterday - straight from the heart of one mother to another. Since she asked for a word from me through the Press, I am proud to acknowledge the letter from Mrs. Samuel McCall, of Barberton, Ohio, whose youngest son is serving his country, in that most grueling training - that preparation for the torrid heat of some of our fighting zones. Many of you remember Mrs. McCall as Mae Hudson, Mr. Will Hudson's sister, who married Henry Fought. Now - after all these years - she has "raised a son to be a soldier." Let me pass on to you, Mrs. McCall, the brave words of a charming Cleveland mother, who writes a column for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, whose oldest son has gone away to war. She writes, "No, we didn't raise our boy to be a soldier; but we didn't raise him to be a 4-F, either." Now, that is no reflection on the 4-F's; she is just grateful that he has been granted the heritage of perfect physical condition. Corporal Howard F. McCall is stationed at Camp Haan, situated in California's "Death Valley." The mother of Bill Cope told me that these boys have to learn how to live on very little water. They are given one pint a day - for drinking, shaving, and washing. Who would think that possible?
That reminds me of what Mrs. Seasholes said about her husband, Major Craig Seasholes, who was adrift at sea six days and nights - on a rubber raft. When the movie "stills" of him and his party were given to his wife, she wrote him, "Craig, you look so dehydrated." He wrote back, "'Dehydrated' is just the word." But the human body is such a marvelous machine, that can take untold punishment, and keep on building new cells and new tissue all the time. We are "fearfully and wonderfully made." But there is something more wonderful than our bodies themselves, and that is the spirit, or soul that God has breathed into every human body. Because of its inspiring message to those whose loved ones may be wounded - and even maimed for life - in this war, I would like to quote from a letter sent to Mrs. Roosevelt by a young naval officer. "Two weeks ago my younger brother, a lieutenant in the army, received multiple injuries that are rather horrible in detail. When Mother received the news, she immediately entrained to be near him as soon as possible. "While on board the train, she jotted down a few thoughts and mailed them to me. I wish to quote a few of them verbatim, for it is with them I tell my story. I am sure you will understand her state of mind while expressing her viewpoint. 'Now I want you all to think with me, with all your heart and soul, that the loss of one hand and a thumb, etc. is not going to handicap in any way his success in life. The only way that I can fathom it out, and that gives me any comfort at all, is that it must have happened for a reason, and that reason is that he is going to be a much bigger man without that hand than he would have been with it. I am holding on with a vicelike grip to that thought, and nothing will ever change it; it is the thought that I must get over to him. Certainly there will be qualities developed in him that would never have existed as part of him before.'" I would like to know who that young man is, and follow his future life - for I believe he is a man of destiny, with such a mother at his side in this dark hour. **As Virginia McQuiston Morris wrote me in her darkest hour - after the sudden and untimely death of her husband:
Florence B. Taylor
P.S. I just wish to say that Howard McCall will surely have a Christmas greeting - the best that is in me. The Service Committee of our church is buying Christmas folders with the greeting page blank; artistic young folks of our church are printing these poems in the folder. I am ordering some extra, in case you might like the idea. (10c for card and postage). But I want to know all about the young man - his work - and where he is.
4501 Lilac Road, South Euclid, Ohio
Next - 11/11/43 - Apathy - A Vicious Foe From Within
BY-WAYS Table of Contents