I just finished reading the autobiography of famed film director, Frank Capra. The book was published in 1971. It was one of those books that I had sitting on my shelf for years that, for one reason or another, I never got around to reading. A friend, noticing the book, mentioned how great a read it was and prompted me to finally read it myself. He was right – it was a wonderful read.
Frank Capra, in addition to making some of the best and most beloved movies of the last century, also did extensive service for the War Department during World War II. He recalled his service overseas and wrote about the time, “in a driving rainstorm, I photographed Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower delivering the commencement address to the 1943 graduating class at Sandhurst (British equivalent to our West Point). The gist of his speech:
“Gentlemen, in the middle of a war, you have just graduated as professional officers in the profession of war. A profession, my fellow officers, that is the most archaic, brutal, senseless, destructive, bestial, de-humanizing profession ever invented by man. It should have been abolished long, long ago. But we have a job to do, a dirty, brutal job. There is an evil loose in the world that glorifies war; that would destroy by war all that we hold dear. It must not prevail!”
That quote from Eisenhower brought a chill to my spine. Those words might have been made yesterday. The evil he refers to could just as easily be the evil of Islamic extremism. And just as the men of 1943 had to fight to remain free, so must we today. Our resolve must not wane. If anything, our enemy is a greater threat than even the Nazis and fascists of 70 years ago. Nuclear technology has seen to that.
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