Saturday, October 29, 2005

Who are these guys?

It is a great line from "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", honoring the unexpected competence of the enemy on the trail of the bandits in that story.
I have used it internally in my job, refering to the surprising ability of our competitors to compete.
Having spent more time on Sullivan Ballou's letter to Sarah, I really wanted to know what fed his skills - and now I learn it is Andover and Brown. But it is still beyond anything I readily imagine:

Our movement may be one of a few days duration and full of pleasure -- and it may be one of severe conflict and death to me. Not my will, but thine 0 God, be done. If it is necessary that I should fall on the battlefield for my country, I am ready. I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in, the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing -- perfectly willing -- to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt.

But, my dear wife, when I know that with my own joys I lay down nearly all of yours, and replace them in this life with cares and sorrows -- when, after having eaten for long years the bitter fruit of orphanage myself, I must offer it as their only sustenance to my dear little children -- is it weak or dishonorable, while the banner of my purpose floats calmly and proudly in the breeze, that my unbounded love for you, my darling wife and children, should struggle in fierce, though useless, contest with my love of country?

Surely there continue to be people this good.


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