Carefully assuming the characteristic halfsitting position known so well to generations of History 1 students, Roger B. Merriman '96, Gurney professor of History and Housemaster of Eliot House, last night in the Union advised all Freshmen that "their first duty in this period of national emergency is to keep themselves physically, morally, spiritually and socially fit for the acid test that is to come."
In an effort to discourage any students with intentions of getting out of embarrassing situations at College in preference for a more romantic career in the ambulance service, Professor Merriman baldy asserted, "Go only if you feel an impelling urge to serve at the front. Do your work here first."
Speaking under the banner of the Student Defense League, whose aim is the defeat of Hitlerism, Merriman reminded the audience that the past year has seen a mass movement to jump on the bandwagon, and that at least one half of the teaching staff at the University is helping the cause. "Harvard is now 99 per cent in favor of helping to check the Germans," he stated.
Holding up the records of Harvard men in the wars of the past, as seen by the assemblage of names in Mem Hall, Appleton Chapel and the Treasure Room, the former mentor of History 1 called on the present generation of Harvard men not to let the "fair name of Harvard down."
Specifically Freshman were given three courses of actions by which they could help the defense effort. Since Merriman believes the conflict will end by 1944 his proposals deal largely with behind the lines work.
(1.) Keep in good training; (2.) Mil Sci and Navy Sci men should go on to receive their commissions; (3.) Go to the newly established office of Professor Casner in University Hall 20 and ask for a place in the defense effort; (4.) Ambulance duty with the American Field Service will offer those feeling the strongest urge a chance to serve in action