Monday, May 22, 2017

The Great War: May 18, 1917

On May 18, 1917, Congress passed the Selective Service Act, giving the president the power to draft soldiers. On that very day, the following article appeared on the front page of the Hudson Evening Register, bemoaning the fact that more young men in Hudson were not volunteering for military service and encouraging them to volunteer before they were drafted.

Why aren't the young men of Hudson, who have no one depending upon them for a living, responding in greater numbers to the call for recruits being made by Company F?
That question is on the lips of many residents of this grand old city. The indifference being shown by the young men apparently puzzles those of an older generation, as well as the officers and members of Hudson's crack unit of the Tenth regiment.
"It wasn't that way in our time," a Civil war veteran remarked yesterday. Another aged man said a glorious privilege is now being offered our young men to show their patriotism.
"Two weeks ago I stood on a street corner and heard a number of young men talking. One was going to do this, another contemplated doing something else, and another intended to enroll here and another there. All were bragging about their patriotism, their fealty, their courage, and their good intentions, but every one of them was throwing a lot of hot air, for not one of them, as far as I can learn, has made an attempt to join the colors, either here or elsewhere. Of course, probably most of them would accept a lieutenancy or some job with a lot of authority that pays well." This was the declaration of another man yesterday. . . . 
But why don't the young men respond? That terrible question again presents itself. We don't believe it is a lack of patriotism. Probably the young men are not really conversant with the situation, probably they don't thoroughly realize its seriousness. There is no use endeavoring to hide the truth from one's self. The situation is exceedingly serious. Uncle Sam needs soldiers! Uncle Sam needs Company F, and Company F needs men! Germany isn't beaten yet! Germany is still a powerful nation. It will take men with stamina, men of the patriotic type, men like the minute men to overpower that nation. There are many young men in this city who would make ideal soldiers. Join Company F and Hudson will be proud of you. . . .
Some young men are not enlisting, perhaps, because they have good jobs and fear they would lose them. Don't worry. Uncle Sam always looks after his soldier boys! Others, perhaps, are laboring under the impression that they will be fortunate and escape conscription. If they're feeling that way about it, they are very patriotic, aren't they?
Of course, there are young men who are doing more at home, perhaps, than they could in the trenches. A young man who goes out and works on the farm is serving his country, for without farm products our people would starve. Men working in munitions plants or in connection with any factory where things for the army or navy are made, are also working in a department essential to the welfare of the country. It is not of them that we refer. But is is of the slacker--the fellow whose services at home would not be greatly missed, but whose services in the army would be very valuable--that we refer to. . . .
It will be no disgrace to be drafted; to the contrary. It will be only evidence of our obligation to serve. . . . But it will be better to say "I volunteered" than to say "I was compelled." One the other hand, opportunities are many just now. . . . Who knows but that you, young man, if you enlist to-morrow may rise, for remember "the early bird gets the worm."
Company F is considered one of the best units in the Tenth regiment. It is well officered and its roster made up of good fellows. Its equipment is excellent and association with the unit will be beneficial.

1 comment:

  1. "Uncle Sam always looks after his soldier boys!" Not really, but only those that survived the stupid muddy blood-bath of the war would realize the lie behind that statement and would gather in Washington to protest, only to be driven out by bayonets commanded by MacArthur and Eisenhower, ordered by Hoover. "Thanks for your service" , indeed.