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Winning a Cause
World War Stories

written by "Bigwood, Inez"
... they went at it smilingly and "jollied" every one with whom they came in contact. French children were asked to write descriptions of the "Yanks" for a New York paper. They nearly all said that they were big and handsome and quick, that they always smiled and were always hungry, especially for chocolate and candy. The French noticed the everlasting smile of the Yank, for after three years of war and suffering the French, even the children, had ceased to smile. It is said the children had even forgotten how to play, but they responded to the love in the hearts of the Yanks, as did the German children when the American soldiers crossed the Rhine. To the Yanks there were no enemies among the children; they loved them, French or German. The Yank did not smile because he failed to realize the seriousness of his job, but because with him the harder, the more dangerous, and the dirtier the job, the more must he smile and "jolly" about it. "They had come to France to do a certain piece of work. It was a bloody, dusty, sweaty, unclean, disagreeable one, and they proposed to finish it.… We are a people given to discounting futures, and the average American soldier, to put it bluntly, discounted being killed in action. If our Allies, whose fortitude was sustained in a dark hour by the way that our men fought, could have probed what was in the mind of these Americans, they would have found still further reason for faith in our military strength." So declares Major Palmer of General Pershing's staff. Raymond Fosdick says the character of the American soldier was shown when a Y.M.C.A. secretary asked a large body of Yanks to write on little slips of paper distributed to them what they thought were the three greatest sins in a soldier. When the papers were passed back and examined, it was found that they agreed unanimously upon the first sin. It was cowardice. And almost unanimously upon the second. It was sel...

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