Many a Watchful Night

Many a Watchful Night

Many a Watchful Night

Many a Watchful Night

Excerpt

We were watching the skies with an interest unknown to men reared in peaceful cities, where weather is a week-end worry. We were watching the gray skies, and the gray, choppy, rainspeckled waves around us.

No. This is wrong. This past tense is a lie. It is history's prerogative when the fears and hopes of men, materialized as deeds, have cooled into those facts which other people read with interest or with boredom.

Participants have their own whittled sense of time. They do not know, they cannot guess, the story's outcome. They are un certain about the minute's end. Battles are not faced or fought in the past tense. Men going into battle admit only one tense -- the present. A suspensive present it is, cut off, except in sudden flashes of memory, from what has been and with the future quiveringly unrevealed. So, for truth's sake, let's start out all over again.

We are glancing intently at those choppy waves, each one of which is grayer than the battleship gray of the Augusta on which we stand or of the ships huddled near us within the harbor. We are scanning the heavy English clouds above us, not thinking for the moment of enemy planes or of what soft pillows they would find here.

It is Monday, June 5; the afternoon of the second day we have waited. We have waited? The whole world has been waiting. For slow months and slowly quickening weeks, all the nations . . .

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