Indiana: Day Is Done

We learned to type at Hillsboro High School in Nashville, Tennessee, during our sophomore year on Remington manual typewriters. I saved the page we were working on because the date was the darkest day of our young lives. The assignment we were practicing was interrupted by our principal coming over the intercom to announce that the President had been shot. I have excerpted from the text to fit the current situation, on this the morning after Indiana. It comes from Thomas Paine's The Crisis.

"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country, but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of men and women. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated...

'Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country... yet panics, in some cases, have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before. But their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain undiscovered. In fact, they have the same effect on secret traitors, which an imaginary apparition would have on a private murderer. They sift out the hidden thoughts of man, and hold them up in public to the world.

...Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man.

There are cases which cannot be overdone by language, and this is one. There are persons , too, who see not the full extent of the evil which threatens them; they solace themselves with hopes that the enemy, if he succeed, will be merciful. It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf, and we ought to be equally against both...

This is our situation, and who will may know it. By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils -- a ravaged country -- a depopulated city -- habitations without safety, and slavery without hope --

...Look on this picture and weep over it! And if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch who believes it not, let him suffer it unlamented."

Our school was dismissed early that day, the children filed out shaking and afraid. Teachers and students sobbed as we watched the flag brought down. It is a terrible day indeed when a country sells its soul.