Ever since the morning that this old world of ours lay smiling in its cradle, from the hour that men began to assert their better conscience with their strong right arms, it has been their custom to pressure their deeds in music, in painting, in story and in song, and then transmit to the future, the history, the tradition, the romance and the grandeur of the heroin part. And so in the 30 of May, Decoration Day, as we recall that period in our nations life, when she drained the cuff of bitterness to the very dregs, we pray God that it may never be pressured to her lifes again: and as we dwell on that portion of her history where chapter after chapter is written with pen of fire in letters of blood; where page after page is blurred with tear and reflects with misery and death, where every paragraph letter of desolation , of broken hearts and brighten lives, or of battlefields lost or won, whilst we would not forget this terrible part, as glorious despite its gloom, yet we hope and trust that such an ordeal may never be required from the American people again. And on this holiday, we call of tradition to achieve the stories of the war; we call on purity to enshrine the memories of the loved and the lost; we call on music to glorify the triumph that were won, we call on song to inspire the present with the ferth the fortitude and the heroin, of our nations part, and we gather the faired, flowers of shring to strew over the graves of the nations dead. And are the first cardinal principle of the Grand Army in charity, is to day or they pay their beautiful tribute to the departed, they reck not under which flag the soldier fought, whether he wore the blue or the gray, but with equal love and tenderness the flowers and daisies are as reverently strewn over the grave of the Confederate, as on the rod that covers the last resting place of his blue coated foeman, “then our tears and love for the gray”; “love and tear for the blue” and the Grand Army of the Republic has flowers for each and all. The second cardinal principle of the Grand Army is fraternity in the long ago there men were bound together by necessity and the stern military discipline of war; standing shoulder to shoulder and facing a common enemy for years; often sharing with each other the last bite and the last , and many a night sleeping under the same blanket, enduring common hardships and defying a common fate through a long and bloody struggle, it is natural and proper that old memories and old feelings should still bond them together in a common brotherhood in their liking times of peace. the third cardinal principle of the Grand Army is loyalty. Loyalty pure and simple. Loyalty blind and unquestioning to the flag, the nation and to the government. Thus their three principles, charity, fraternity, and loyalty are the links that bind the men of the Grand Army together in one vast and powerful brotherhood, and their principles can clock in of one men politics, nor do they jar with any mans creed, for they appeal directly to the better instincts and the clearer judgement of our common humanity. The men of the Grand Army do not arrogate to themselves a greater virtue, a higher courage, or a more exalted patriotism, nor do they claim for themselves more consideration, than they gladly accord to their fellow citizens outside the Order. but they do claim, that whatever of service the soldiers and sailors of the Union rendered our nation in the War of the Great Rebellion, or whatever of glory was achieved for the nations flag in that war, the men of the Grand Army in common with all their old comrades, living and dead, claim credit for their honest stare this and nothing more. In their early childhood they had been taught to believe in One Country and One Flag, this war the faith that had been handed down to them by the fathers of the republic, they accepted it in all its fullness and proud their devotion to it by duty and will cling to it through sunshine and storm for they believe that this fault is the rock upon which the foundations of our nation are builded, and the gates of Hell shall never prevail against it. When the generation of the Grand Army came on Earth, they came predestined to share a tremendous problem to do a great work, from the time of their births they were fallen to fulfill a mighty mission; the heroic spirits of the republics past watched over their cradles as their mothers sang their lullaby and rocked them to sleep; and when they were baptised, the mighty arch angel hovered over the baptismal font and his fateful seal in their infant brews, he consecrated their future to suffering, to endurance, to loyalty and to death. They have been true to their mission and steadfast tot eh faith. They preached that faith with tongues of flame, leaping from the portholes of Fort Sumpter. They thundered in truth in blazing broadsides from the guns of the crippled old Cumberland, as she sank down into her bed of glory at the bottom of the sea. they expanded its doctrines from the muzzles of their rifles and from the mouths of their batteries, with sabre stroke and bayonet point on countless fields. They hugged that faith to their bosom on many a weary march, in many a cold miserable , out in many a lonely picket post. they pressed forward with it in long thin skirmish lines, across the valleys and up and over the hills, forcing their way through the tangled underbrush and the sombre forests, swimming rivers and wading through the treacherous swamps, crouching through the tall grass and charging across the broad cotton fields, always fighting and struggling with a wary and a dangerous foe, dropping here and there, often never to rise again; thus they fell, singly or by twos and threes in out of the way places, and many a one was never seen or heard of more. There are some in this audience who have read the story of the solitary scout, miler within the enemys lines, discovered, pressured and flying for his life; dismounten and galloped down; surrounded and fighting at bay, flounded and dying; shouted his last defiance and fired his last cartridge; and as the death rattle sounded in his throat and the death foam slowly oozed out between his clenched teeth; smiled, for his last thought was of loyal comrades riding fast and furious to rescue or to avenge him; of loving comrades laying him in his soldiers grave, and of his far off northern village home, where he would be decreed a soldier forever glorified by a soldier fate. And that very night, when the shadows of darkness had fallen in that plot of ground forevermore sanctified by a patriots soldiers blood, cried the bright stars were gazing down in wondering pity on the stiffening corpse and the upturned face so white and ghostly in death, they saw Phil Sheridan and his squadron come thundering up, the dead scout buried and his fate fiercely avenged. Thus it always was, the blood of the martyr the seed of the church, where on laid that faith down myriade flew to take it up. They died by fifties and hundreds in the Prison Pens, starving, delirious, mad. They swept to their deaths by the thousands in long lines and columns of blue, sweeping over historic fields in all the pomp and circumstance of glorious war, where the foe though he was grew pale at their battle cry. They perished, one million of men died, that this faith might survive and triumph, that its light might blaze over a regeneration land, that its rays might penetrate to the uttermost parts of the Earth, bringing the glad tidings to the down trodden and of pressure of the new dispensation, of a higher and a better life, a brighter hope, a free and a happy home. “One Country and One Flag.” A country and a flag that women can pray for and be all the happier, better and miller for the prayer, a country and a flag, that men can die for and go to their deaths with a smile on their lips and a song in their hearts. Even as the other night, we heard coming in through the Golden Gate of San Francisco Bay, the echoes of the ringing cheers from the decks of our sinking warships in the far off Samoan Sea as our Sailor Boys went down to their awful deaths; and mingling with the wild hurrahs of our perishing Blue Jackets, came to our ears the heart stirring of an loved Star Spangled Banner, blending with the roar of the terrible cyclone, so that to the awe stricken nation of the earth, as they stand spell bound with laten breath, listening enhanced to the wierd symphony, it sounded like a triumphal hymn, chanted by all the warrior angels of Heaven as they marche in column of Grand Rivier before the throne of the Eternal and Omnipotent God. “One Country and One Flag” It was the faith of the fathers of our republic, it is the faith of the Grand Army, it is your belief and the belief of the American people, it is the hope of the future, and it will continue to spread and grow stronger, until the people of the western world accept its grace and acknowledge its supremacy, and our flag floats in undisputed way, not only over all the islands of the adjacent seas, but over every foot of ground in this hemisphere from the frozen shores of the Artic to the outmost bounds of the land of fire in the southern ocean. And now ladies and gentlemen, I have tried to explain to you the fundamental principles of the Grand Army as concisely as I could, I have tried to tell you what the faith of the Grand Army is, the Faith of which the Order is the exponent and the sworn defender, and as most of you were born after the War of the Great Rebellion ended, and therefore cannot become members of the organization, you can however become co believers with us in our principles and our faith, without antagonizing any party or church with which you may be connected, for your conscience and your judgement alike appraise charity, fraternity and loyalty, One Country and One Flag. Note: I think father must have written this for someone to deliver.
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