Friday, March 31, 2006

They will Write of Us....


Below are three short pieces from Diana Preston, The Boxer Rebellion: China's war on Foreigners, 1900. Robinson: London; 1999. This is our time. What will people write of us? I'm pleased and proud to write that one of my great grandmothers was a missionary there at the time these stories take place:
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Here's an anecdote "recorded by Herbert Hoover, a group of British Indian Sikhs were left in an exposed position by some retreating French sentries. 'Not knowing what it meant for other than traitors to run under attack without orders,' the Sikhs set about 'exterminating the squad of Frenchmen, which only the most frantic commands of the English officers prevented." (Preston: p. 168.)

An American woman reports on the siege. "She also found that the Japanese made the best patients. The Russians were usually 'stolid and silent'; the French and Italians tended to 'make the worst of their wounds'; and the British and Americans were usually 'in too great a hurry to make out that they were well enough to return to duty'; but the Japanese were always 'brave and cheery.' When the Reverend Allen discovered that a Japanese soldier whose knee had been smashed by a shell had managed to reverse his position in bed to move his head out of the sun, he told him not to move himself without asking for help. The poor man, who had misunderstood every word, painstakingly shuffled back into his original position. Allen found him then minutes later 'with his head in the blazing sun, and a smile of conscious virtue on his face.' " (Preston: p. 186.)

"A twenty year old bugler, Calvin P. Titus, volunteered to be the first up the wall. He was a small man, just over five foot seven, and weighed a mere 120 pounds. His commanding officer, Colonel Dagget, waited for someone else to offer but they did not. Titus duly swarmed up, unarmed, in an act of consummate courage for which he received the Congressional Medal of Honor and an appointment to West Point. (Preston: p. 253.)
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What will people write of us? I know that mine was a bit of a looter, given that I have some nice things from the Empress's bedroom. Maybe we can do a little better in our struggle against Islam.

2 comments:

Always On Watch said...

What will people write of us?

I hope they will say that we stood up to Islam. But on most days, I have serious doubts.

dag said...

Those who are heroic become so just because, not through any previous plan. It's a matter of rising to the occasion when one is needed. Many are called, few are chosen. That's the nature of things. Some of us, probably the least likely to seem so, willl rise to the heights of Human greatness. It lies in wait till it's needed. Jean d'Arc, Rosie the Rivetter, even Charlotte Corday, they came to the call and followed through because of what they could, not because of who they were. Even as we write it's likely that somewhere in some classroom far away there's a girl who sits dreaming or giggling or scribbling who will rise up when the need comes, and she will change our history for the better. And when that's done, she might very well go on to raise her children and become a grandmother and pass away and that'll be that. It could be that we won't even know who she is. But someone will come. Not just one. There wil be millions.