The Pittsburgh Press (August 21, 1943)
I DARE SAY —
By Florence Fisher Parry
Impressive as is the photograph of the dignitaries assembled before the grandiose background of the Château Frontenac, there is one figure lacking to make it perfect: Gen. MacArthur, the great war hero of them all!
I shall be glad when events point their arrow his way, and that’s our pent-up idolatry which is waiting in the hearts of us all, to heap upon this herp, may at last find full relief.
It is an odd thing about heroes. The spell which they cast has little to do with their actual accomplishments; it springs from something more – an indefinable fire which ignites the hearts of their idolaters into a blind unalterable devotion.
Napoleon had it – nor cruelty nor greed nor utter defeat were able to extinguish it. His tomb is still a shrine. Lenin had it. Lincoln had it. Washington had it, and Robert E. Lee, Gen. de Gaulle certainly possesses it.
And Gen. Douglas MacArthur thus has it.
We may cheer Gen. Patton; we may delight in Gen. Montgomery, we may burst with pride and satisfaction in Gen. Eisenhower. But they will never be heroes in that deathless way that makes a hero a martial saint. They will never be able to cast the spell that makes men willing to perform deathless deeds in their name.
What is that quality that makes a warrior a her such as this? Of all our generals, only Gen. MacArthur possesses this strange attribute. We know that come the day war interest is at last focused in the Pacific, this man will emerge the greatest figure of them all.
And I for one do not like the way his exploits have been played down. From the time he was so thrillingly rescued from Bataan, and overnight became the world’s No. 1 idol, he has been PLAYED DOWN.
Let the testimony to disprove it be placed before us to read.
‘Heaven Can Wait’
One of the most delightful motion pictures of the season is now showing at the J.P. Harris Theater: Heaven Can Wait; and I hope its audiences will be made up of a goodly number of those of my own generation, for I suspect that of all the enthusiasts it will attract we are in positions to appreciate its fine flavor most.
It is just charming. Its very pace and tempo, which to the younger generation may seem slow and deliberate, seem to me to add to its leisurely distinction. It provided me, I know, the very most satisfying evening at the movies I can remember having enjoyed this summer.
The dialog is as flavorful as a smooth old wine; its humor is as mellow as it is malicious; its settings and costumes are a sheer delight; and its story as charming and reminiscent as a lovely old plush album. Please, I adjure you, make a point of taking mother with you, yes and father too. And even grandmother. It is for every age, and for all gentlefolks!
Have you read Western Star? It did not affect me as did John Brown’s Body, although its publication so soon after the death of its fine author reminds us with extraordinary sharpness what we have lost in the death of Stephen Vincent Benét.
The moon, this month, never shone more furiously, nor shed a sterner invitation to our imaginations to ponder the terrifying meanings of this world conflict.
One of the most incredible feats of the human mind is the success with which we have managed to rationalize and accept the wholesale demolition of property and lives. It is as though, arming our countries and our armies, we have succeeded also in encasing our imaginations in thick armor, immobilizing their functions so that the physical horror of this war cannot penetrate our comprehension nor our minds play upon the meaning of such universal pain, except in terms of personal family loss.
“Bomb – burn – destroy.” These are OUR words now. They are, perhaps, the most implacable declaration of all-out war that ever has been uttered by civilized man. We say the words; we mean them, nothing can swerve us from our intention to CARRY THEM OUT. Yet their meaning in terms of human life and death, has lost its power to affect us.