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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

DEFENDER OF THE FAITH

When the first contingent of turbaned Indians rode past, some Americans loosed a war-whoop.--News item.

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

If elephants had only been there, many Americans thought, it would have been like a circus parade. Bits of news like these were few in the pages of space given to the Coronation, for correspondents in the position of the Grand Duchess Marie did not want to cable, as the Associated Press did, that a butcher in the East end wrote God Save the King across his shop in sausages. Many persons believe that from the point of view of the United States the press took the affair too seriously. It is true that the New York Times sent Birchall from Berlin, but he was countered by Hearst's Pulitzer Prize winner H. R. Knickerbocker, who wire-lessed in his murder trial style that, "Kneeling for ten minutes at a time was not too agreeable to the royal pair, especially Elizabeth, who is now inclined to be portly."

Something of the regard with which the English invested their ceremony is known to the Americans who have paused in the Library of Congress for a silent minute before the draft of the Declaration of Independence, and who remember that the British crown is one thousand years older. It is not surprising that outsiders did not catch the spirit of the moment, for the peculiar, insular English people were at the moment most solemn and most English. "Defender of the Faith" is one of the titles of their King, but the meaning of the phrase has changed. George VI no longer protects one religion; he stands for faith in the whole past and for the service of tradition to the troubles of today.

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