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A beautiful passage from WWII

From the menu of a 1944 Christmas dinner on a cold US army base in Italy….

Alone of all American holidays, Christmas has been held inviolate, and will be observed throughout the Army by order of the War Department. By this wise exception men may have a brief respite from the grim business of war to restock their spiritual strength and reexamine their position in terms of the religion of their nation. This they may do with an untroubled conscience. They will reflect that the tenets preached by Him whose birthday is holy throughout the western world are sound, worth dying for, the very marrow of our culture. That some of these professed tenets may not be practiced for awhile is due to human failings and makes them not less true. They have been appraised in the perspective of time, they have survived many wars, and will survive this one.

With stout hearts, we see victory, if not near, certainly clearly in view. Then and only then we may resume our cherished habit of peace on earth and good will to all men.

Wow. No authorship claimed – presumably just a soldier back in the US.

(Thanks to William Zinsser, who wrote a blog post about this passage for The American Spectator. It’s no longer available online, but is included in the recent compilation¬†The Writer Who Stayed.)

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