“Uncle Mort’s” Observations

June 14, 1917

Things For Freedom District To Be Proud Of

Young Men Ready For War

Some Comment on the Frightful Storm of Last Week–Stricken Farmers Will Pull Themselves Together and Face the Future With Courage and Without Complaint–All Are Thankful There Was No Loss of Life

I delight in telling what I think. I shall go on just as before–seeing whatever I can, and telling what I see. -Emerson

Weren’t you just a bit proud of Freedom District and the way her young men responded on the day of the registration for the draft? It was certainly fine. The total number registered–193–was the best showing made by any single precinct in Carroll County and the percentage of those claiming exemptions was smaller than most others. And when the draft is made those from Freedom District whose names will be drawn to help make up that great army that will win the war, and make democratic government secure throughout the world, will go forth cheerfully and courageously, each to do a full man’s part. It was a historic day for Freedom District, as it was for the nation. It brought home the fact to our people that we are actually at war! This fact will be pressed home still more impressively the day the draft is made and the roll is called and published of those whose names are drawn from the box, and upon whose shoulders will then rest the duty of preserving the honor of the Freedom District in whatever branch of the service they may be sent. And they will do it, while the rest of us honor them. There are no finer set of young men anywhere in Maryland than those of Freedom District and I have no hesitancy in saying that they will do their duty manfully and courageously. They will play well their part, come what will.

It would be a fine thing if they could go as a unit, or at least that the contingent from Carroll County could be kept together. It is possible that this will be done, but it is not probable. There is still opportunity for those who prefer service with Maryland regiments to volunteer with them before the draft is made. If the Maryland brigade is brought to war strength before ordered into active service, it will probably be maintained intact, under its own brigade commander. If not, the regiments will be brigaded with organizations from other States. In the Spanish-American war the New York regiment with which I served was brigaded with troops from Missouri, Indiana, Kansas and Rhode Island. It would be fine if the Maryland soldiers, so far as possible, could be kept together, but when the new army is created by means of the draft, those drawn from Maryland will find themselves organized into units with men from other States and so far as their home communities are concerned they will lose their identity, thus making it necessary for those at home to keep track of individual records, rather than the records of county or city units. One advantage the volunteer system has over that providing for compulsory universal service is, that troops from a locality can be kept together. The universal service plan is far more equitable however, and the espirit de corpe is not likely to suffer. Even when the units are made up of men from various States they quickly fraternize and become like one family. This is particularly true of the Marine Corps. The men are intensely loyal to the organization as a whole. The units that make up this splendid fighting force count for little in themselves, but there is a commendable spirit and pride in the Corps itself, among officers and men, and when they speak of the organization it is always “The Corps,” and never the company. Carroll County men may be grouped together, here and there, but they will find themselves in various organizations. Wherever they are, wherever they go, they will give the best that is in them and I have no doubt but the hearts of the “folks back home” will many times thrill with pride if the war lasts long enough. Let us hope, however, the bottom will drop out of it and that peace will come before any of our young men are called upon to complete the sacrifice.

The frightful storm that devastated the fields and farms of Carroll County last week is a great misfortune–but not a calamity. Our homes were spared and the elements took no toll of life. The destruction wrought was appalling and disheartening, and at a time when it will be most heavily felt. The labor of a season and the prospects of a profitable return, were swept away in a few moments. IN some instances the labor of a life time in bringing fine farms to a high state of cultivation, was destroyed, for the top dressings were washed away. Fine orchards that had been given years of careful attention, to bring them to a profitable hearing condition, were ruined. Not only was the fruit destroyed, but the trees as well. It was a display of the forces of Nature that was truly appalling, but the visitation might have been worse and because it was not, we have reason to be thankful. As the war emergency will bring out the best that is in our young men, so will this visitation bring out the best that is in the farmers who have suffered heavy losses.

They will rise above this misfortune. They still have their homes, their families and their lands. While the losses will be severely felt in many instances, those who have suffered will set their faces resolutely to the future and begin all over again. It will take more than a cyclone of hail to curb the spirit of the Carroll County farmer, or shake his faith in God. A blessing of some sort will come out of the present situation. Sweet corn can still be planted and it is not too late for potatoes. So let us “pick our fights” and get busy again. Farmers who need credit can get it. Help along various lines will be forthcoming. Let all take courage and face the situation cheerfully and make the most of it. There is no other way. In many other sections where violent storms have prevailed this year, not only crops have been swept away, but homes destroyed and whole families wiped out. Compared with such losses ours have been small indeed. That lives were not lost to the storm seems providential–indeed it was so. Let us take a new hold on life and things, and go forward again without complaint, and make the most of a bad situation. Let our people prove to the world once more–we have done it before–that we are made of good metal.

UNCLE MORTIMER

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