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Bill Thayer

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On this webpage you can read a chapter of
Stories of Heroism

William Mace

published by
Rand McNally & Company
New York, 1909.

It's all right to copy it or use it any way you want.

I checked this page carefully for mistakes,
and didn't find any:
but if you find one, please let me know!

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 p395  A Message

To the Boys and Girls of America

If you have received as much pleasure from reading the "Stories of Heroism" as I have from writing them, we should feel truly grateful. We have watched these men through childhood and youth and manhood gradually growing in strength and force of character; each expanding in activity and power and steadily developing those heroic qualities demanded by the times and by the work required of him.

We have followed the bold mariners, who, risking their lives, sailed fearlessly into unknown seas which tradition peopled with monsters. We have stood beside the brave men who planted the colonies, and have witnessed their hard-fought battles with climate, sickness, hunger, the wild beast, and the savage Indian.

We have watched the great men of the Revolution win their way to independence when to fail, perhaps, meant death.

We beheld those daring frontiersmen pushing back the line which separated the wilderness from civilization. We have looked with admiration upon those self-sacrificing men of peace who braved the terrors of unknown forest and trackless prairie, conquering the savage by the gentler methods of religion.

We have met heroes who won fame on land and on sea, in peace and in war. Heroes who forever will be remembered for daring deeds in battle; for great wisdom and energy devoted to the upbuilding of our country and its institutions; and for scientific discoveries and wonderful inventions which have changed the course of history.

 p396  To us it matters little why these great men of the past gave their talents, their fortunes, or their lives to the cause for which they fought or toiled. It is important, however, that we know their united efforts have made America a great and happy country, the home of freedom, the refuge of the persecuted, and the land of boundless opportunities.

If the study of their heroic lives has taught us why they sometimes failed and at other times succeeded, and has helped us the better to prepare for the future, our time has not been wasted. If it has stirred our hearts with love of country and inspired within us a desire to do our part in the world's work, we may rest content. The flag of our country will remain unsullied forever by disloyalty or dishonor.

Upon you, my young readers, must soon fall the task of caring for the institutions founded by these patriotic and devoted men. The past history of our country written in their lives is finished and unalterable. Its future history is what you shall make it.

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Page updated: 11 Sep 06