Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Actions Speak Louder than Words" (without using the actual phrase). (02/21/08)
TITLE: Fire In Victory's Hearth
By william price
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Gazing through his passenger window at the iced-over Potomac River, the writer sensed his countrymen were frozen in fear. Yet, he knew, below the stationary, paralyzed surface of the waterway, a current still flowed. He knew the season would soon change, the earth would tilt and balmy breezes would blow the Spring Sun’s healing rays and set the river free. Encouragement was hid under six feet of solid ice. The writer’s job was to sell the hope of what cannot yet be seen.
It was not an ordinary December morning. Fire still danced on the waters in Hawaii. Blood still stained the decks of sunken warships. Smoke still clouded the vision of confused soldiers in need of direction. Shock cast a large shadow on the citizens of the United States.
The writer bowed his head in prayer as he was driven to his office.
A date which will live in infamy.
He wrote on a note pad. His hands trembled and heart pounded as he tried to make sense of it all.
“What are we looking at, Admiral?”
A nervous commander twitched in his seat across from the writer.
“Since Pearl Harbor, the Japanese government launched an attack against Malaya. Last night they attacked Hong Kong, Guam, the Philippine Islands and Wake Island. This morning they attacked Midway Island.”
The writer took note of this information.
The writer‘s wife sat next to him in the car.
“How did this happen?”
“We were seduced and duped by camouflaged communications and solicitations for peace. We couldn’t see the evil behind their masks of false intentions.”
The writer wrote down more notes.
His wife spoke softly.
“What does it all mean?”
“The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. There is nothing I can add to that.”
The writer scribbled on his notepad as he talked.
“Their treacherous acts drowned out their serpentine speeches of peace in the Pacific.”
The writer shed a tear as he saw the flags at half-mast as he approached his office.
The admiral broke the momentary silence.
“What are you going to say to the country?”
The writer paused in thought.
“What I am going to say is nothing compared to what I am going to do. It won’t be by words or speech that we will overcome this. I’m going to dedicate myself to putting us on a path of dedicated direction and deed. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory.”
The writer jotted down more notes on his pad.
Hours later, the President of the United States was speaking to Congress and the citizens of his great country.
“…With confidence in our armed forces, with the un-bounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph. So help us God…”
In the wee hours of the next morning following President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s declaration of war, he sat in front of his fireplace with his wife Eleanor.
“I thought your speech was excellent, dear.”
The warm embers of the fire eased the pain in the President’s legs.
“Thank you, but I will tell you; the speech is nothing more than logs in an unlit fireplace. It’s the people that will be remembered when we win this war. They’ll be the ones who quit their jobs and enlisted to help. It’ll be the mothers who learned how to weld, the young men who sacrificed their lives on foreign beaches that history will record as memorable. They will be the fire in the hearth of this victory. My words were nothing but dried kindling. The passion of the people’s service will provide the blaze.”
Eleanor rose to get some hot tea. She returned and handed her husband a steaming cup and gave him a kiss on the forehead.
“I love you too, wife.”
The couple held hands and listened to the purr of the fire. But, a warmth from another source gave their souls comfort that dawn as they pondered the future of their country. No majestic Words from Heaven were spoken, no trumpets blared; just a peace that surpassed all of their doubts and questions. The writer and his wife closed their eyes and uttered simultaneously.
“We love you too, God.”
Note: This is a fictional account on the preparation of FDR’s famous War Declaration Speech and what might have happened the morning after.
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