Veteran's Day
November 11, 1998

The 1981 movie Chariots of Fire notes the obligation of citizens to their nation's war dead. In doing so, it distinguishes duty and honor from nationalism and racism, and promotes service to mankind as an English virtue. This page commemorates Ohio's veterans through Ohio's memorials, the poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar, words and song from that movie, and the words of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Pause you who pass beneath this flag and remember
the sacrifice of life and of treasures
that has kept it aloft
unstained and beautiful against the sky

William Blake

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark Satanic mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariots of Fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.

Note: Jerusalem can be adapted for singing in the United States by substituting "ev'ry" for "England" in the last verse.

After fleeing from Kentucky to Ohio, Paul Laurence Dunbar's father served in the Fifty-Fifth Massachusetts regiment. In The Colored Soldiers Dunbar expressed pride in their service as well as the belief that their service had vindicated the "Sons of Ham:"

And their deeds shall find a record
    In the registry of Fame;
For their blood has cleansed completely
    Every blot of slavery's shame.
So all honor and all glory
    To those noble sons of Ham-
The gallant colored soldiers
    Who fought for Uncle Sam!

Every person in this nation is indebted to veterans who stood ready in our nation's "hour of maximum danger," serving as peacekeepers in the nuclear age. Not only are we free from the specter of nuclear annihilation, but many technologies developed to defend the nation (for example, semiconductors, computers and the internet) are in widespread commercial use, fueling an economic superpower. Moreover, many of our state's civilian employers trace not only their core technologies to the military, but their corporate origins as well. It is appropriate to honor the many people whose ingenuity, foresight, and motivating ability spared this nation a "technological surprise."

Master of Caius' Exhortation to Freshmen
Thursday, October 10, 1919
from the movie Chariots of Fire

I take the War list, and I run down it. Name after name, which I can not read, and which we who are older than you can not hear without emotion. Names which will only be names to you, the new college, but which to us summon up face after face full of honesty and goodness, zeal and vigor, and intellectual prowess. The flower of a generation--the glory of England. And they died for England and all that England stands for.

And now by tragic necessity their dreams have become yours. Let me exhort you: Examine yourselves. Let each of you discover where your true chance of greatness lies. For their sakes, for the sakes of your college and you country, seize this chance, rejoice in it, and let no power or persuasion deter you in your task.