Fifty years ago the deaths resulting from celebrating and reviewing the battle of Lexington exceeded the number killed in the actual battle. Last Monday's manoeuvres are too recent to account the cost of such patriotic exposure. Those hundreds who stood bareheaded in the sleet and dampness to hiss the British as they came on from Boston, were doubtless warmed by the glow of national pride.
True patriotism is a splendid and compelling force that welds a nation together, and it has its place when properly expressed. But when devotion to one's country turns to blind abuse of others, then it is time to call it by another name. This flaunting and magnifying of British oppression, a hundred and fifty years old, is quite incompatible with America's professed furtherance of world peace, in the interest of which the League of Nations is doing such good foundation work.
When historical illusions are malicious, rather than informative, they have no justification. When Moving Pictures drag the faults of other nations before the school-children of America--as they have been doing under the guise of education--then patriotism has degenerated into national bigotry.
Surely America is as anxious to abolish war as any nation. Obviously it desires to make the future safe for its inheritors. And yet, in this land of few grievances, and little oppression, past injuries are not forgotten, and the voice of the self-named patriot still carries forward the hatred and jealousies of a warring age.