A few months back my wife was rummaging through some of her old papers of her mothers and found the following poem inside a world map folded into a small pamphlet. I thought what a great way to show what the men of that time period thought about honor and self worth. It was written by Edmond Vance Cook and the poem I have was printed on a small 3X5 paper with a logo of "American YMCA, Paris and it was dated, 1918. The card itself is frayed around the edges and looks well worn....
HOW DID I DIE ?
Did you tackle that trouble that came your way
With a resolute heart and cheerful?
Or hide your face from the light of day
With a craven soul and fearful ?
Oh, a trouble's a ton, or a trouble's an ounce,
Or a trouble is what you make it.
It isn't the fact that you're hurt that counts
But only how did you take it ?
You are beaten to earth ? Well, well, what's that?
Come up with a smiling face.
It's nothing against you to fall down flat,
But to lie there - that's disgrace
The harder you're thrown, why the higher you bounce:
Be proud of your blackened eye!
It isn't the fact that you're licked that counts;
It's how did you fight - and why?
And though you be done to the death, what then?
if you battled the best you could,
If you played your part in the world of men,
Why, the Critic will call it good.
Death comes with a crawl,or it comes with a pounce,
and whether he's slow or spry,
It isn't the fact that your dead that counts,
But only how did you die?
Edmond Vance Cook
When I read this poem I thought, How far we have come from that time to this...today, we don't want to be hurt no matter how and today it's OK for men to cry, but back then that was not the mark of a man...he was suppose to grin and bear it. "it doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's how you play the game."
As I mulled over the words in this poem, I thought of the men who might have read it and the time???? It was the Great war,,,The war to end all wars.....WW1 in Paris, France.....They were in the thick of it and here was a poem telling the men, it isn't if you die, it's how you do it that counts.....Wow!!