young man, I was deeply interested in the development of the idea of
German national unity as expressed in German poetry; and much that I
read then has become full of meaning for us, too, especially in these
latter days. One of those German songs is ringing in my ears to-night.
Oh, if it could only come true, if our brave men over there storming the
rocky heights could only make it come true - " At this moment the
telegraph-bell again rang sharply:
"Fort Bridger, Feb. 9, 2.36 a.m. With enormous losses the brigades of
Lennox and Malmberg have stormed the positions occupied by the
artillery on the enemy's left wing, and have captured numerous guns.
The thunder of cannon coming from the valley can be distinctly heard
here on the heights. Fisher's division has signaled that they have
successfully driven back the enemy. The Japanese are beginning to
retreat all along the line. Our troops - - "
The President could read no further, for the words were dancing before
his eyes. This stern man, whom nothing could bend or break, now had
tears in his eyes as he folded his hands over the telegraph instrument,
from which the tape continued to come forth, and said in a deeply moved
voice: "Harry, this hour is greater than the Fourth of July. And now,
Harry, I remember it, that song of the German poet; may it become our
prayer of thanksgiving:"
"From tower to tower let the bells be rung,
Throughout our land let our joy be sung!
Light every beacon far and near,
To show that God hath helped us here!
Praise be to God on High!"
Then the President stepped over to the window and pushing aside the
curtains, opened it and looked out into the cold winter morning for a
"Harry," he called presently, "doesn't it seem as though the bells were
ringing? Thus far no one knows the glad tidings but you and I; but very
soon they'll awake to p√¶ans of victory and then our flag will wave
proudly once more and we'll have no trouble in winning back the missing
It was a moment of the highest national exaltation, such as a nation
experiences only once in a hundred years.
A solitary policeman was patrolling up and down before the White House,
and he started violently as he heard a voice above him calling out:
"Run as hard as you can and call out on all the streets: The enemy is
defeated, our troops have conquered, the Japanese army is in full
retreat! Knock at the doors and windows and shout into every home: we
have won, the enemy is retreating."
The policeman hurried off, leaving big black footprints in the white
snow, and he could be heard yelling out: "Victory, victory, we've beaten
the Japs!" as he ran.
People began to collect in the streets and a coachman jumped down from
his box and ran towards the White House, looking up at its lighted
"Leave your carriage here," shouted the President, "and run as hard as
you can and tell everybody you meet that we have won and that the
Japanese are in full retreat! Our country will be free once more!"
Shouts were heard in the distance, and the noise of loud knocking. And
then the President closed the window and came back into the room. But
when the Secretary of War wanted to read the balance of the message, he
said: "Don't, Harry; I couldn't listen to another word now, but please
rouse everybody in the house."
Then bells rang in the halls and people were heard to stir in the rooms.
There was a joyous awakening in the quiet capital that ninth day of
February, the day that dispelled the darkness and the gloom.
That day marked the beginning of the end. _The yellow peril had been