The other day we had lunch with a fellow American who had orders in his pocket to report to an admiral with the Pacific fleet. We have known him for nearly twenty years, but it was not until after we saw him off for possible combat duty that the realization came over us that we had said good-bye to a real patriot.
It so happens that this man, who is now an officer in the U. S. Navy, had been identified with the machine tool business the greater part of his life. He told us when the war situation in Europe became critical that he had decided to do something about it. He’s doing it now.
Several years before Pearl Harbor he was engaged in his own business, which consisted mainly of furnishing machine tools for the Allies when they were staggering under the blows of the Nazi juggernaut. When our own preparedness program was in its infancy, he gave up a profitable enterprise to take a job with a nationally-known manufacturer, who was in the throes of expanding for the purpose of building armament. He spent several years on this job and when Japs struck their dastardly blow, he offered his experience and services to Uncle Sam.
After a couple of years of service with the Naval Ordnance Department, his job, which had to do primarily with speeding war production, was fairly well completed, he requested a transfer to a war front. His request was granted and he is now somewhere in the Pacific.
Our recollections of this man go back to World War I, when he served in the Army as a second lieutenant. So, after twenty years of successful business activity, he gave up his home life, his business and practically all his connections to do another job for Uncle Sam.
We know that there are thousands of Americans who have sacrificed as much and even more, but we could not help thinking, “Here is a real American.” The urge which prompted him to enlist in the armed forces was not stimulated by an adventurous spirit, but, to our way of thinking, he acted primarily from purely patriotic motives. During his business career he served his clients in a manner which was most sincere; in fact, his entire life seems to have been based upon the most unselfish motives.
We could not help comparing his record with that of our own and many other Americans, who feel that they are doing their bit in the war effort. When we compare our record with his, however, we feel somewhat chagrined and belittled. He will have to start his business career all over again when the final V-Day arrives.
We feel proud to be able to say that we are numbered among his friends. Here is a real American.