This letter, recently received by Professor Copeland, comes from a Harvard man whose physical condition debarred him from various forms of active service which he sought to enter. At length he was accepted for the Foreign Legion of the French Army.
Your poilu has burst his cocoon and stands glittering before the world--an Aspirant. He is proud of himself--and more at peace than ever before in his life....
You ask me to tell you the commonest events of my life. I doubt whether that will be possible, for I have chosen a 75 attacking battery, but I shall keep a moment-to-moment journals for you and for others to whom I am not afraid to reveal myself. If I get through safely we'll laugh over it--and if I pass out, it will be sent to you.
Before this reaches you I shall be at the front. I regret that it will not be with my own. They are wonderful, and Europe is breathing a new air because of them. They have the vision--and the dreams of old men are coming true. I wish I could tell you the great pride and faith and elation the recognition of their spirit gives us. To be an American is today the proudest thing in the world. But even when one is not fighting as one of them--even though he wears another color, he is fighting with the American spirit and the American dream. Do you wonder that I am perfectly at peace with myself?
It is with such emotions that I go to the front. Think of me as having believed something passionately enough not to have accepted rejections, as having found a place for myself when it was refused me time and again, as going into the fire with head up and laughing lips because I am an officer of France and an American. And if I am killed don't call me "poor fellow." I shall deserve better than that.
Write me often. Letters are vital. And know that I am thinking of you often.