The SCROLL of Phi Delta Theta for September,
in these twenty-eight years, it has never
abated, nor have we as a nation once
been able to escape it.
You have all heard it said that this is
a "people's war.'/ Certainly the people
will fight it and the people will pay for
it, both in life and substance, and if the
people win it, they will force a new
evaluation of their political, social, and religious. Actually, no fantastic Utopia will emerge
nor will any of the manifold forms of
collectivism fit the American mentality
or spirit. But wealth will no longer be a
criterion of social position, nor will it
soon carry the privileges which it has
once too often thrown away.
Against this forbidding picture there
are some extraordinary antidotes. Despite all of the failures, the shallowness,
and the loss of prestige, there is the
comforting truth that some fraternities,
among which we may with humility
number ourselves, have never completely
forsaken their altars. Great and enduring friendships have been formed within
the'Bond, and a great and lasting friendship is one of man's most noble achievements. The capacity for brotherhood in
the human family was often enlarged and
cultivated. From time to time scholarship
was recognized and esteemed. For us assembled here now in 1942, these values
are landmarks which have occasionally
been lost, but never removed.
The ordeal of fire for has only
just begun. The struggle of our chapters
for new recruits, the reduction of the
college generation from four to three or
even two and a half years, the financial
strains, the foreclosures, the lapsed charters, now seem formidable prospects, but
in reality they will be only incidents. We,
and all the world, are relearning a very
ancient lesson; namely, that neither men
nor institutions live by bread alone.
From Bataan and the Coral Sea and
Libya and the Solomon Islands, and
from the skies around the world, there
comes the word that strong men have
turned again to even to
prayer. No chapter meeting of A was
ever held without a prayer, but countless
thousands of us have forgotten how to
pray. In a fox hole, in an open boat, in
the sling of a parachute, in the agony of
death on a battlefield, man's soul is
loosed from the niggardly restraints of
his material world and he thinks and
speaks of the values that count.
Great destruction will yet be wrought,
some of it perchance in our midst. But
when the debris is cleared away the three
articles of our faith will stand out purified and clarified by sacrifice. And if we
are wise we will go back to the Bond
where in the simplicity that is the
natural adornment of truth, there are
the precepts for our salvation. The honor
roll will be long. It will number the men
who gave what was long ago a gift of
love greater than which no man can give:
a life cut short at its beginning. To these
in the ritual of the heart if not of the
lips, we will turn and say with Alfred
There's but one gift that all our dead desire.
One gift that men can give, and that's a dream,
Unless we, too, can burn with that same fire
Of sacrifice; die to the things that seem;
Die to the little hatreds; die to greed;
Die to the old ignoble selves we knew;
Die to the base contempts of sect and creed.
And rise again, like these, with souls as true.
Nay (since these died before their task was finished)
Attempt new heights, bring even their dreams to birth:
Build us that better world, Oh, not diminished
By one true splendor that they planned on earth.
And that's not done by sword, or tongue, or pen.
There's but one way. God make us better men.