I Dare Say – All but the shouting (11-4-43)

The Pittsburgh Press (November 4, 1943)


All but the shouting

By Florence Fisher Parry

I wasn’t in New York when the lights went up again on Broadway, but I’ve been there at other celebrations and I have a good idea what it was like. I can just see them moving along Broadway, those long, wide black rivers of men and women. It must have been a great night. It was a great celebration, not only in New York, but everywhere.

But why not? Why not? The dimout was over. What could that mean but that the war was practically over. And look at the headlines! The Moscow Conference ending in a blaze of glory. Toasts! Toasts to the brave New World that the great victorious powers were going to build tomorrow!

And tomorrow – tomorrow was just over the horizon; the rosy streak of its dawn could already be seen.

An end to sacrifice. An end to production. An end to worry and work. Come out of the pits all you miners! Strike! Lay down your tools! Ask for more money! Get your cut quick before the big payoff!

That is the spirit. It’s sweeping the country. It’s sweeping it like a plague. Where did it start? Whence did it come? What lent it its impetus?

What starts mass mood such as this victory hysteria, and what in God’s name can be done to stop it? For something must stop it. Something must wake us from such a delirium. For if we don’t wake up, we still can lose the war – not technically, perhaps, but in essence we can lose it still.

Attack is costly

The headlines of the newspapers for the last few days have been the most ominous, the most frightful we have had since the war began. The coal industry, the backbone of our whole war effort, was stopped in its tracks by hundreds of thousands of men whose own sons are dying and thirsting and despairing on battlefields over the earth.

Have you read what’s been happening to Gen. Clark’s army in Italy, what the losses are in American men? Just how costly our attack is? Are we forgetting that attack is always more costly than retreat? Are we forgetting that the more the initiative of battle passes into our hands, the more our losses are bound to be?

Do we remember what Gen. Eisenhower said just the other day, that this very initiative of ours, the very fact that the attack is indeed passing into our hands, is draining our supply of blood plasma?

I was talking to one of the vital workers of the Red Cross Blood Bank, and what she reported made my heart turn sick. She said that for two weeks their quota of 4,600 pints of blood plasma had not been met; that some donors registered for appointments failed to show up – didn’t even bother calling to postpone or cancel their appointments.

I asked her what they did when they had these cancellations.

She said:

Oh, we get on the telephone and call as many persons as we can from whom we think we might be able to get a donation. And then, right there in the Wabash Building, there are a lot of us workers who come through again; but we’re not allowed to give our blood more often than once every two months.

I dare say it could be worse. I don’t think people mean to be negligent or selfish. It’s just that they are beginning to think that it doesn’t matter anymore, that by this time the Red Cross must have more blood plasma than it can use.

First stone?

That’s fine. That’s just fine. But can you cast the first stone, dear reader? Can I? How have we felt about giving our blood lately?

How long has it been since you made an appointment down at the Wabash Building or wherever a blood bank is stationed? How long has it been since you gave your last donation? Three months? Six months?

You meant then to come back again, didn’t you? What has kept you from going? Hasn’t it been because you, too, have been inoculated by this mass mood of victory, this mood of it’s-all-over-but-the-shouting?

Better call up. Better call GRant 1680. Better make your appointment now. A pint of blood. You know it’s nothing. It doesn’t even stop your workday.

For the day of our attack is upon us, and more blood will be spilt, more lives lost from this day forward than ever before in the bloodiest days of the war.

When Gen. Eisenhower says that our reserves of blood plasma are being gravely drained, it’s time for us to stop short and think – and give our blood.

Not next week. Not tomorrow, but TODAY.

The attack is on, and attack is more costly than defense. We needed blood plasma before. We need it now more than ever. It’s the one universal, cheap, easy gift.

Make your appointment NOW.