Peter’s heart was leaping with excitement; and it leaped even faster when he had got his breakfast and was walking down Main Street. He saw crowds gathered, and American flags flying from all the buildings, just as on the day of the Preparedness parade. It caused Peter to feet queer spasms of fright; he imagined another bomb, but he couldn’t resist the crowds with their eager faces and contagious enthusiasm. Presently here came a band, with magnificent martial music, and here came soldiers marching—tramp, tramp, tramp—line after line of khaki-clad boys with heavy packs upon their backs and shiny new rifles. Our boys! Our boys! God bless them!
It was three regiments of the 223rd Division, coming from Camp Lincoln to be entrained for the war. They might better have been entrained at the camp, of course, but everyone had been clamoring for some glimpse of the soldiers, and here they were with their music and their flags, and their crowds of flushed, excited admirers—two endless lines of people, wild with patriotic fervor, shouting, singing, waving hats and handkerchiefs, until the whole street became a blur, a mad delirium. Peter saw these closely pressed lines, straight and true, and the legs that moved like clock-work, and the feet that shook the ground like thunder. He saw the fresh, boyish faces, grimly set and proud, with eyes fixed ahead, never turning, even tho they realized that this might be their last glimpse of their home city, that they might never come back from this journey. Our boys! Our boys! God bless them! Peter felt a choking in his throat, and a thrill of gratitude to the boys who were protecting him and his country; he clenched his hands and set his teeth, with fresh determination to punish the evil men and women—draft-dodgers, slackers, pacifists and seditionists—who were failing to take their part in this glorious emprise.