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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Wartime Letter

A major theme of our book is that there is more to public life than narrow material self-interest. At Commentary, Peter Wehner shows a letter by his wife's uncle, Frank Keaton.  He wrote it as a young soldier on February 8, 1944.  An excerpt:
Now, here is the most important thing of all. Up to now, I’ve given nothing for what I have taken, and now I am at the age when usefulness to our society and to the world at large is expected of me, so that my life will be justified in the eyes of God and man.

What better thing can a man ask for than a chance to fight for what he believes in, fight to give the new generation and the generations not yet born a chance to live a life like my own has been, a chance to play, to go to school and learn about the world, not just one race and one creed; a chance to love and be loved, a chance to see the greatness of the world that God has given us, and a chance to add a name to the long line of great men and women who have made names for themselves in every line of endeavor.
When I think of this my heart swells up and chokes me. Here, early in life, I’m given the opportunity to serve, to make the living of my life not in vain. Some men live a full lifetime and do not achieve this one distinction. This world conflict has given me an easy chance and a big opportunity.