After a hundred years the history of a great war waged by a successful nation is commonly reviewed by that nation with retrospective complacency. Distance dims the panorama; haze obscures the ragged gaps in the pageant until the long lines of victorious armies move smoothly across the horizon, with never an abyss to check their triumph. Yet there is one people who cannot view the past through a mirage. The marks of the birth-pangs remain on the land; its struggle for breath was too terrible, its scars too deep to hide or cover. For us, the pages of the past turn all undimmed; battles, brutally etched, stand clear as our own hills against the sky -- for in this land we have no haze to soften truth. Treading the austere corridor of our Pantheon, we, too, come at last to victory -- but what a victory! Not the familiar, gracious goddess, wide-winged, crowned, bearing wreaths, but a naked, desperate creature, gaunt, dauntless, turning her iron face to the west. . . .
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