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- Theodore Roosevelt - 19/19 -

plotters of arson) and to run on Germany's errands in various countries. The cry "He kept us out of war" was effectively used to reelect Mr. Wilson, although members of the Government must have been thoroughly well aware that war was coming and coming soon.

It had long been Mr. Roosevelt's hope that if war came he might be allowed to raise a division, as he had once helped to raise a regiment, and take them, after suitable training, to the front. He knew where he could put his hands on the men, regular army officers, ex-volunteers and Rough Riders of the Spanish War, and other men of experience, who in turn could find other men, who could be made into soldiers, for they knew the important parts of a soldier's work, and could be trained quickly.

But the War Department and the President would have none of Mr. Roosevelt's services. The President replied that the high officers of the Army advised him against it, which was undoubtedly true. It is also extremely likely that the high officers of the Democratic Party would advise against letting Mr. Roosevelt serve his country, as they still feared him, and still vainly hoped that they could lessen his influence with the American people. Unlike President Lincoln, who would gladly accept the services of any man who could serve the country, Mr. Wilson could work only with men who were personally pleasing, who thought as he did on all subjects. The officer of the Army best known to European soldiers, and the one who trained one of the best divisions, was Roosevelt's old commander, General Leonard Wood. But he, like a statesman, had been advising preparedness for years, and he was therefore displeasing to the politicians who only began to prepare after war was declared. America and the Allies did not have the benefit of this distinguished officer's services in France.

Against the slothfulness of the Government in these years, Roosevelt voiced the true opinion of America. He did not merely criticize, for he offered his own services, and when he disapproved of what was being done, he pointed out what might be done by way of improvement. In spite of much condemnation of his course, his suggestions were nearly all adopted--six months or a year later. His offer to raise a division showed how many men were eager to fight, and spurred the Government into action.

The Germans and their friends in this country, the peace-at-any- price folk who defended or apologized for the worst crimes of the Germans, and all the band of disloyal persons who think that patriotism is something to be sneered at,--all these hated Roosevelt with a deadly hatred. It was not a proud distinction to be numbered with these, and all who joined with them have made haste to forget the fact.

In his own family, his eldest son, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., became first a Major and later a Lieutenant-Colonel of Infantry; Kermit and Archibald were both Captains; and Quentin was a Lieutenant in the Aviation force. His son-in-law, Dr. Richard Derby, was a Major in the Medical Corps. All of them sought active service, made every effort to get to the front, and succeeded. Two of them were wounded, and Quentin was killed in a battle in the air.

The death of his youngest son was a terrible blow to him, but he would not wince. His son had been true to his teaching; he had dared the high fortune of battle.

"You cannot bring up boys to be eagles," said he, "and expect them to act like sparrows!"

Some distinguished Japanese visitors calling on Mr. Roosevelt at this time came away deeply affected. To them he recalled the Samurai, with their noble traditions of utter self-sacrifice.

Throughout his life, but now as never before, he told his countrymen, there was no place in America for a divided loyalty. No German-Americans, nor Irish-Americans, nor Scotch-Americans. He would have no man try to split even, and be a "50-50 American."

Shortly after war had ended, he sent this message to a patriotic meeting:

There must be no sagging back in the fight for Americanism merely because the war is over. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile. We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language, for we intended to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding-house; and we have room for but one soul loyalty, and that is loyalty to the American people. [Footnote: Hagedorn, p. 384.]

It was practically his last word to the country he had loved and served so well. That was on January 5, 1919.

Years before, when he and his children had played together, he had told them a story about lions. Some of the boys had been called the lion cubs, and henceforth their father was to them "The Old Lion."

On the sixth of January, one of his sons, who was at home recovering from his wounds, sent a message to his brothers in France:

The Old Lion is dead.

He was buried in a small cemetery near his Long Island home. A plain grave-stone marks the place. To his grave have come a King and a Prince and other men of great name from Europe, to lay wreaths there, as they put them on the tombs of Washington and Lincoln. But what would have pleased him even more is that every Sunday and holiday thousands of men, women and children who knew him, thousands who loved him, although they never saw him, men who fought at his side, and men who fought against him, go out to stand for a moment at his grave, because they know him now as a wise, brave, and patriotic American.


Theodore Roosevelt - 19/19

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