This brings us to the part that America is taking at the end of its second hundred and fifty years of existence. Is it not a part of that increasing purpose which the poet, the seer, tells us runs through the ages? Has not our Nation been raised up and strengthened, trained and prepared, to meet the great sacrifice that must be made now to save the world from despotism? We have heard much of our lack of preparation. We have been altogether lacking in preparation in a strict military sense. We had no vast forces of artillery or infantry, no large stores of munitions, few trained men. But let us not forget to pay proper respect to the preparation we did have, which was the result of long training and careful teaching. We had a mental, a moral, a spiritual training that fitted us equally with any other people to engage in this great contest which after all is a contest of ideas as well as of arms. We must never neglect the military preparation again, but we may as well recognize that we have had a preparation without which arms in our hands would very much resemble in purpose those now arrayed against us.
Are we not realizing a noble destiny? The great Admiral who discovered America bore the significant name of Christopher. It has been pointed out that this name means Christ-bearer. Were not the men who stood at Bunker Hill bearing light to the world by their sacrifices? Are not the men of to-day, the entire Nation of to-day, living in accordance with the significance of that name, and by their service and sacrifice redeeming mankind from the forces that make for everlasting destruction? We seek no territory and no rewards. We give but do not take. We seek for a victory of our ideas. Our arms are but the means. America follows no such delusion as a place in the sun for the strong by the destruction of the weak. America seeks rather, by giving of her strength for the service of the weak, a place in eternity.
We have met on this anniversary of American independence to assess the dimensions of a kind deed. Nearly four score years ago the master of a whaling vessel sailing from this port rescued from a barren rock in the China Sea some Japanese fishermen. Among them was a young boy whom he brought home with him to Fairhaven, where he was given the advantages of New England life and sent to school with the boys and girls of the neighborhood, where he excelled in his studies. But as he grew up he was filled with a longing to see Japan and his aged mother. He knew that the duty of filial piety lay upon him according to the teachings of his race, and he was determined to meet that obligation. I think that is one of the lessons of this day. Here was a youth who determined to pursue the course which he had been taught was right. He braved the dangers of the