For the 70th anniversary of Victory over Japan this past weekend, here are some excerpts from a radio program that was broadcast on August 14, 1945. Written by Norman Corwin, and magnificently performed by Orson Welles.
"This day is the father of great anniversaries. Men and saints shall picnic together on Fourteen August down more years than either you or I shall see. So say it tonight with saluting guns. Say it with roses. Say it with a handclasp, a drink, a prayer. Say it anyway you want but say it! Fourteen August... New homecoming. Now the dog-tag exchanged for the name again. They will converge from outlandish zones of time; from secret somewheres known alone to postmasters. From lanes of oceans, and from windy desert camps. The comrades will write letters to each other for a while. And then drop out of touch. The mess-halls where the meals were on the house will be forgotten soon enough between Jim's Diner and homecoming... Say it tonight with saluting guns, with champagne and with laughter. But also remember the fields beyond, and the names and faces beyond. It is worth noting and remembering that here in this August the grass is hearty, the sky friendly, the wind in windsock, birds are competitive, the hills of home are in their accustomed places. And all is accounted for. All is accounted for except the farmer's boy, and the mule-hand who lived near the canal. The young men from the city block where the gutters fry in summer. One lies with an ocean across his chest at the bottom of an arctic deep. Another sleeps with sand in his eyes where he fell on a beach at Palau. The bones of the fisherman rest in clay, far from the rocks of Maine. And the Miner's kid is under the ground of China. The cricket sings in the summer night, but the soda clerk says nothing. The fawn leaps in the wolf proof wood, but the jungle roots twine the postman's feet. The turtle is young at sixty-one, but the flyer is dead at eighteen.
"Remember them. Oh, when July comes round and the shimmer of noon excites the locust, when the pretty girls bounce as they walk in the park; and the moth is in love with a 60-watt bulb, and the tire on the road is blistered. They've given their noons to their country; they've trusted their girls to you, they are face to face with an ally's earth for a bunch of tomorrows. Remember them. Oh, in the fall of the year when frost airbrushes the withering leaf and the silo is fat as a bearing woman, and the cleats in the backfields dig up gains to the stadium. When the number one goose says it's time to go, and the flock points a V to the south. They've given their seed to 48 states, their football tickets to you. The shirt on their back is a worm-cut rag for silks and breads, bomblessness. For kids, unplanned today, who will play ghosts and Tojo every Halloween. Remember them. Oh, in the sleeting months when the sap stands cold in the vein of the tree and the bottle of milk in the frozen doorstep raises it's cap to the morning. When the skating girls eddy like snow on the rink, and the storm window hooked on the prairie farmhouse mutters in the gail out of Idaho. They've spilled their blood for the rights of men. For people the likes of me and you. And they ask that we do not fail them again in the days we are coming to."
Excerpts from "Fourteen August" by Norman Corwin,
August 14, 1945
You can listen to Norman Corwin's live radio broadcast "Fourteen August" it in it's entirety here. It is well worth your time: You can listen to Norman Corwin's live radio broadcast "Fourteen August" it in it's entirety here. It is well worth your time: https://soundcloud.com/thewallbreakers/corw-1945-08-14-fourteen