Decision to en­list laid bare

Central and North Burnett Times - - REAL ESTATE -

A LET­TER from John Alexan­der Raws to his fa­ther, July 12, 1915. Part one:

I have re­ceived your let­ter this evening, just a few min­utes after I have passed the med­i­cal test for en­list­ment.

If I had re­ceived your let­ter be­fore, Fa­ther dear, it would have made no dif­fer­ence. And my decision has not been sud­den. My mind has prac­ti­cally been made up for a month or so, be­fore the re­cruit­ing boom to which you re­fer, but I was wait­ing to ad­vise you im­me­di­ately ev­ery­thing was fixed, and I was ac­cepted.

I must ask you not to worry, but rather to be proud that I, your son, am pre­pared to aban­don all my com­forts, all my life, all of ev­ery­thing, to fight for prin­ci­ples which I hold, mean ev­ery­thing to the mod­ern world, and, also, to look at it from another an­gle, apart al­to­gether from pa­tri­o­tism, to go out to my friends and pals, to the other fel­lows of Aus­tralia, to my brother al­ready there, to help them in a business of life and death in which they are hard pressed.

I do not think that I was ever a great man for hero­ics but I do be­lieve that there are some things worth more than life. I curse the sys­tems of gov­ern­ment, the hideous fraud of civil­i­sa­tion, which per­mits this dread­ful wel­ter of blood and suf­fer­ing to have en­veloped the world in mod­ern times. And yet I go to join in it, be­liev­ing that the only hope for the sal­va­tion of the world is a speedy vic­tory for the Al­lies. Hold­ing such views, how can a man, judged to be phys­i­cally fit for pur­pose, rea­son­ably hold back?

I hope that you will be proud to think that you have two sons, who were never fight­ing men, who ab­hor the sight of blood and cru­elty and suf­fer­ing of any kind, but who yet are game to go out bravely to a war forced upon them.

There are many men, wealthy and strong, who should have gone be­fore me, and have not. But can that ex­cuse me? Not for one mo­ment.

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