Patriotic pieces from the Great War/America Goes In Singing
AMERICA GOES IN SINGING
"The American troops will fight side by side with the British and French troops and the Star Spangled Banner will float beside the French and English flags in the plains of Picardy."
This was the official answer to General Pershing's words to General Foch:
"All that we have are yours, to dispose of them as you will."
When Pershing stood at the tomb of Lafayette and uttered the briefest and finest war address that has been delivered, "Lafayette, we are here!" he spoke for the American spirit, to the soul of the French people. Our country from sea to sea ratified the message of a soldier unafraid. It was
"The voice of one for millions,
In whom the millions rejoice
For giving their one spirit voice."
Even so with Pershing's offer of our whole armed force at once, to beat back the tidal wave of the flagellated myrmidons of Prussia. The country that we love will send into No Man's Land, to reclaim it for God and from the Devil, its first hundred thousand, its million, and then its millions more, if they are needed, to assure the triumph of the right and the salvation of the world from the glutted maw of the Beast of Beasts, of Moloch in a death's-head helmet.
Our men, our sons and brothers, march on singing toward the fray. The Irish poet Arthur O'Shaughnessy has told us that
"Three with a new song's measure
Can trample an empire down."
Terrible indeed is the striking power of a singing army—as Cromwell's psalm-singing Ironsides proved. Mile after mile of men in khaki, tramping the measured cadence down the miry highways to the front, are lifting in lyric unison their battle anthems—"Where Do We Go From Here, Boys?" and "Over There" and "Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag." These swarming caravans moving toward the firing line like inspired clockwork, without confusion—these rumbling guns outlandishly bespotted to hide them from the prying eyes aloft—these motor-trucks and rocking, rumbling wagons roofed with brown, and above all and before all, these marching columns of men pressing forward to relieve the warworn thousands in the trenches with their irrepressible youth and strength and high, joking courage—all this means for us at home and for us who are over there a shining dream brought true, a great day dawning for America, a saving grace for our country where liberty, so dearly bought by the blood of our fathers, is forever cherished and forever sanctified.
America is in the fight because she "can do no other." Our men could not endure to wait an hour longer. "Watchman, what of the night?" was the interrogation that ran from armed camp to armed camp. Their brothers beneath the Union Jack and the Tricolor were in the thick of the hardest battle ever waged on earth, and were falling and dying. With a righteous indignation burning in their heart, and on their lips the song of the happy warrior who vindicates the right, our men march forward into battle—their faces to the enemy—their love with us at home—their glory safe with God.
—Public Ledger, Philadelphia