What is Patriotism?
The other day Boston streets were banked with throngs of people, while thousands of young men who had lately donned the uniforms of the Army and Navy streamed by like a river. Most of the massed populace could see only the peaked Army hats or the white caps of cadets--many, indeed, nothing but the points of serried bayonets and the mounted officers. We chanced to stand on the Common where the uniformed men could be seen only when they emerged from the multitude along Boylston street as the column swung into Park square. Presently a flag came floating along in full view above the throng. It seemed a living presence--a radiant embodiment visualizing the impelling cause of the unseen array. Men and boys bared their heads. "Why don't women find some way to salute that flag?" a feminine voice was heard to ask, somewhere amid the shoulders round about our own.
As the marchers wheeled into view in Park square, "that flag" seemed to float on the billowed sea of their manhood--a trustfully hovering presence above those stalwart men. It was a striking spectacle as the column pushed its way out Columbus avenue. Every youth in that sturdy array had given up home comforts, school and business advantages, personal delights with friends and loved ones--had turned from all these to the rigors of camp and training stations--had subordinated himself to enders that must be obeyed without demur--had set himself to face terrifle perils overseas and lay down his life if he must--all for that flag! Hamerton was right when he wrote: "The two most powerful mental stimulants--since they overcome the fear of death--are unquestionably religion and patriotism." --Boston Herald.