Build the ships and train
Make your millions fighting strength
That shall frighten war’s alarms
Ere they reach a challenge length.
He was immediately assailed as a militarist, and yet, had we but taken those preparatory steps, millions of lives might have been saved.
And thus we approach one of the problems which this book is designed to solve. There are eight million men in this country between the ages of forty-five and sixty-four. Probably we may count upon another million from the men of sixty-four to seventy who would be “prospects,” as the mining-men say. These men represent nine-tenths of the financial and executive strength of the United States.
When I started the experiment of the Senior Service Corps at New Haven, in the spring of 1917, all my men were over forty-five, and several of them had passed the seventy mark; yet all found increased health and efficiency from the prescribed regime. There was a distinct gain, not only in health, but in spirits and in temper. Nerves that had been at high tension relaxed to normal. Effort that had seemed exhaustive became pleasurable. The ordinary problems of business or finance, once so apt to be vexatious, lost their power to produce worry. In fact, these men had renewed their youth; they had altered the horizon-line of advancing age, across which only clouds of doubt and apprehension could be seen, to that of youth, radiant with the sunshine of hope and the promise of accomplishment.
[Illustration: Initial hike of first Senior service corps]
This war has started some new thoughts and has given emphasis to others that may not be new but which have never been forced home. One of these is the value of physical efficiency. A social scientist said some twenty years ago that the “greatest nation of the future would be the one which could send the most men to the top of the Matterhorn.” Nations now realize that in such a time as this all men up to forty may be required for the firing-line; and this means that all the men from forty to seventy must be rendered especially efficient and physically fit in order to stand back of the fighting forces as a dependable reserve—money, power, and brains.
[Illustration: Hike of A Senior corps]
[Illustration: These men, although over forty-five years of age, marched for over four hours without discomfort]