The little quotation marks are tell-tale - that the title is borrowed. The incomparable Dorothy Thompson used it last week in her syndicated column. I will come to that later. What is character? My little "early edition" of Funk and Wagnalls says it is "moral force", which describes it adequately. Surely we think of character as a great, driving force, that knows no defeat, that makes no compromise with evil, that keeps on and on - through failure and discouragement, through ridicule and ignominy - fighting on, to fulfill one's destiny. Years ago a noted psychologist, Elsie Lincoln Benedict, told a little story, to illustrate the value of perseverance of refusing to be discouraged. That funny little story inspires me to keep on trying when things look pretty black. Two frogs fell into a big can of sour cream. (The housewife was very careless). One frog, after a few valiant attempts, said to himself, "I can't get out of here; what's the use of trying?" And he folded up and went down for the last count. The other frog was a fighter. Something within him told him to keep on kicking and struggling to escape, although it seemed hopeless. He kicked around there until he churned that sour cream into butter. He climbed triumphantly onto the soft yellow pad that he had made, and from there he hopped out into his own world again. That frog had character.
One of the most inspiring stories that has come out of this war appeared in the Cleveland Press this week. Frank and Mary Armogida, natives of Italy, now residents of Canton, O., are among the country's most distinguished citizens. Few people, even those whose roots have been long in American soil, can equal their gift to the American cause. On April 9th they will send the last of their six sons into the fighting forces. One is a West Point graduate, who, last week, at the age of 26, was promoted to the rank of major. Another will receive his commission from the U.S. naval academy in June. A third brother enlisted; the other three will have been inducted into the Army by April 9. Mr. and Mrs. Armogida came to the U.S. in 1903, when both were 16. They have been citizens since 1916. "We are glad to make the sacrifice for a country that has been very good to us," said Mrs. Armogida. Here is what James, assistant county prosecutor, the last to be inducted, said of his parents: "It is only because of their fine example of sacrificing throughout their lives that we are gladly sacrificing. My father never earned a great deal at his tailor's trade, but he and my mother did with the barest necessities so that they could provide an education for us ... They are swell. I hope they will be able to say as much about us." There is character for you; making every sacrifice to give your children the best in education; then loving your adopted country dearly enough to give six fine, handsome, well-educated sons.*****
Dorothy Thompson, in her article, "Character is Destiny," writes, "Why does the whole English speaking world love Douglas MacArthur? They love him because he is an ideal of character." In the Philippines he experienced no real victories; but his retreats were never defeats. Miss Thompson goes on to say that in the end it is character that will win the war. Just as Winston Churchill called England to herself in the disastrous spring of 1940, so is MacArthur calling America to herself. General MacArthur is proving himself a great leader. Let us not become just emotional idol-worshipers, but staunch soldiers, each with a bugle in his heart, remembering - believing that character is destiny.*****
This coming week commemorates Jesus' last days on earth, his triumphal entry into Jerusalem so quickly followed by evil plotting against His life, treachery within His own ranks, the mock trial, the cruel heckling by the rabble, the insults, the cowardly denial by one who professed to love him the most, the mocking crown of thorns; and finally the agonizing death accorded criminals. Think of that dark hour when Jesus cried out, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" But there was no recanting, no flinching from the cross that had to precede the crown. On that dark Friday - now our "Good Friday" - character reached the state of perfection. And because Jesus was still human, he had to have character, to resist all temptation. Let us not only worship Him, as the son of God. Let us try to emulate Him.
Florence B. Taylor
Next - 4/9/42 - God's Holy Temple (It still stands)
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