The Major Commandant at Rethel showed me a letter from a friend demanding “some easy chairs and a piano for his trench house,” and the Major said, “I hear they have music up on the Yser, but the French are too close to us here!”
All that I saw of the German Red Cross leads me to believe that it is adequate and efficient. At Rethel we saw a Red Cross train of thirty-two cars perfectly equipped. The cars are made specially with open corridors, so that stretchers or rubber-wheeled trucks may be rolled from one car to another. The berths are in two tiers, much like an American sleeping car, and each car when full holds twenty-eight men. There is an operating car fully equipped for the most delicate and dangerous cases; in fact, when we saw the train at Rethel it had stopped on its way to Germany for an operation on a man’s brain.
By Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States
The conviction that great spiritual forces will assert themselves at the end of the European war to enlighten the judgment and steady the spirits of mankind was expressed by President Wilson in an address of welcome delivered at the Maryland annual conference of the Methodist Protestant Church at Washington on April 8, 1915. The text of his address appears below.
These are days of great perplexity, when a great cloud of trouble hangs and broods over the greater part of the world. It seems as if great, blind, material forces had been released which had for long been held in leash and restraint. And yet underneath that you can see the strong impulses of great ideals.
It would be impossible for men to go through what men are going through on the battlefields of Europe and struggle through the present dark night of their terrible struggle if it were not that they saw, or thought that they saw, the broadening of light where the morning should come up and believed that they were standing each on his side of the contest for some eternal principle for right.
Then all about them, all about us, there sits the silent, waiting tribunal which is going to utter the ultimate judgment upon this struggle, the great tribunal of the opinion of the world; and I fancy I see, I hope that I see, I pray that it may be that I do truly see, great spiritual forces lying waiting for the outcome of this thing to assert themselves, and are asserting themselves even now to enlighten our judgment and steady our spirits.
No man is wise enough to pronounce judgment, but we can all hold our spirits in readiness to accept the truth when it dawns on us and is revealed to us in the outcome of this titanic struggle.
It is of infinite benefit that in assemblages like this and in every sort of assemblage we should constantly go back to the sources of our moral inspiration and question ourselves as to what principle it is that we are acting on. Whither are we bound? What do we wish to see triumph? And if we wish to see certain things triumph, why do we wish to see them triumph? What is there in them that is for the lasting benefit of mankind?