Monday, November 19, 2018

The End of the War by Joe Lawlor at Camp Greene, Charlotte, 1918

From The Caduceus, Camp Greene issue, November 16, 1918

By Joe Lawlor

“Ye gods, Sue, it’s over. Come down stairs and kiss your daddy because Tom and Jerryi will soon be home.”

This must have been the feeling in a general way throughout this good old country of ours last Monday when the wires flashed forth the news that a colossal military machine had the skids put under it so badly that its longitude and latitude could not even be given. Dear Lord, could you blame us for feeling hilarious? We who the blood hounds said wouldn’t fight. We, who were accused of constantly foxtrotting to our meals and then to a road house for dancing and vintage. We, of whom they said, “Those lounge lizards with perfumed handkerchiefs.”

Well, maybe we did like our fox trots missed with a little vintage; maybe we did like a week-end at the Country Club, where good fellowship reigned supreme. But at the same time the pleasure process formed in us a love for liberty and woe be to the man who would steal the precious stuff away from us because that is what Old Glory flies for. We showed the arrogant clans that we, too, oh Lacademon could perish in the pass, and hark ye to the Huzzas as our millions marched away. And then what a marvelous change came over Columbia. The so-called tango artists answered reveille as smoothly as they answered Dabney Europe’s syncopated outfit of jazz artists, and they maneuvered their chow tools as deftly as an Englishman his monocle.

It looked like a tough change in life but nothing is tough when a youth carries American blood. They took to military life like a baby to its mother in a short space of time, they carried a stride that had the 100-year goose step clique holding their double chins with astonishment. They nursed their rifles like a miser his nickel, and when the transports carried them down the harbor towards the land of the heroes and villains of the old world they all agreed that America was a great country to die for.

Well, the rest, dear reader, is history. The battles of Catigny, Chateau Thierry, the Marne, Cambrai, etc. On all sections of the blast furnace of war, they went singing and laughing to victory. When they went to their death, they were sorry that they couldn’t give more. And stacked up against the Prussian guard, they were certainly up against blood specialists, in other words the super-hounds of the big jam, but oh, boy, they were just as much at ease as if they were fighting all their lives. They outwitted them, outfought them, slugged them and then lit their cigarettes but of course kept right on going.

There were the lads who came from offices, factories, dry goods stores, etc., and all to protect that precious liberty, that this country above all has nourished. The Prussian caste never knew the thrill of a referee’s whistle on a fall afternoon, when the gridiron warriors are sent down the field accompanied by the roars of thousands. They never knew the thrill that a soiled baseball, kissed by a late summer afternoon’s sun, gives while sailing through the air. They never heard the batteries announced by Silk O’Laughlin. If they had there would never had been such a stately drama of death and carnage pulled off. If Germany had dabbled in sports and taught her youth the laws of good sportsmanship, why Belgium would never have been plundered and plucked.

As so we could go on and on and quote the different passages of Kultur that shocked a civilized world but are lost. It’s a good way to put it, dear reader, that a good sport beats a piker, yea, Bo, a hundred and one back them up against the passages of American sportsmanship and they woys.

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