“Great Days in Dayton”
Reproduced on these pages is the full script of a “Great Days in Dayton” broadcast. All music and sound effect “cues” are indicated just as they appear on the working scripts used by the cast. The sponsor hopes that you will find interesting these dramatized episodes from the life story of your city.
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SCRIPT No. 13 – “ARMAGEDDON”
Theme. Starts fortissimo, then fades behind . . .
ANNOUNCER: “Great Days in Dayton!”
ANNOUNCER: One thing, more than any other, illustrates the difference between the earliest homes in Dayton and those of today. Even the log cabins of the first decade provided comfort, if not luxury, in their simple furnishings. But from dusk to dawn light came only from open wood fires, tallow dips or crudely-made candles; and all housework meant long hours of tiring hand labor. Today our homes know the unequaled luxury of clean, safe electric light; and the modern housewife has the ever-willing help of electric power in a great number of house-hold tasks. Business and industry enjoy these same advantages. In fact, it may be said that the enormous progress made by Dayton industries during the past half-century has been due very largely to the development and increased use of electric power. The Dayton Power and Light Company has thus had an important part in building the Dayton we know today. And it is on this account that they are sponsoring these programs, which present not only the outstanding dramatic events in Dayton’s history, but the record of the steady march of community progress. (PAUSE.) Here in the auditorium of the Dayton Art Institute is a large guest audience which has come to see today’s production of “Great Days in Dayton.” We would like to have you, your family and your friends as guests at some future performance. Tickets are free. They may be obtained on the ground floor of the Gas and Electric Building, 25 N. Main Street. (PAUSE.) And now . . . here is your master of ceremonies, Mr. Charles McLean, who will introduce you to the play we present today.
NARRATOR: Last week’s play dealt with the mounting dissension and strife which characterized life in Dayton during the few years before the Civil War. Today we shall see how those same elements of discord continued even during the War years, adding immeasurably to the sorrows and suffering brought by national conflict. And now the members of the Dayton Civic Theatre professional company, under the direction of Morton DaCosta, will present today’s drama. Its title is “Armageddon.” Its action begins in mid-April, 1861, in the offices of the Dayton Journal. Will Comly and Dick Landis, publisher and editor, are discussing the national situation.
[Telegraph instrument and indistinct voices off behind . . . ]
COMLY: I can’t see much hope, Dick. The North would compromise on slavery, but the South won’t. There’s a Confederate government actually set up, with Jefferson Davis as President. Secession is no longer a threat; it’s an established fact.
DICK: It is unless President Lincoln decides to put it down as rebellion. And anything may start the shooting. Major Anderson’s small garrison at Fort Sumter must make a very tempting target for the Southern gunners.
COMLY: I’m worried about the growing bitterness here in Dayton. The Democrats are strong. Lincoln carried the town by only 1800 to 1500.
DICK: Yes, and the Democrats elected Clement Vallandigham to Congress over Sam Craighead. Now they call themselves the peace party, with a motto that amounts to peace at any price.
COMLY: I know. They’ve passed resolutions condemning the use of force to prevent secession. But that’s where the Journal is going to stand fast. I’d support any reasonable compromise, but if the war starts we’ll be back of the Union Government with all the strength we have.
DICK: He comes Ed Peters from the telegraph desk. He looks excited.
PETERS: [Coming on.] Mr. Comly! Mr. Comly! We’ve just had a bulletin. Fort Sumter has been fired on! [Excited voices off. ]
COMLY: [Loudly.] Listen, everyone! [Voices down.] Fort Sumter has been fired on! That means war! We’ll get out an extra edition right away. Ed, you bring me the story as fast as it comes in. Dick, you write a short editorial on the Journal’s support of the Government. Bill Banks! Bill! Tell the pressroom! Send out for anyone who isn’t there! [Excited voices up.] [Telegraph up.]
DICK: This is it, Will. Do you remember what Lincoln said when he was here in Dayton . . . this great nation shall come at last to Armageddon?
COMLY: And I’m afraid that’s what’s happened, Dick. [Fade out and in.]
NEWSBOY: [Off.] Extra! Extra! Extra! Fort Sumter fired on! Extra!
VOICE: [Man.] Here, boy, give me one! (PAUSE.) H-m-m. Well, now we’ll show the Rebels.
VOICE: [Woman.] Give me a paper. (PAUSE.) Oh, it is true! How awful!
NEWSBOY: Extra! Extra!
VOICES: Give me one! . . . What’s it say? . . . I want two copies! [Shouts off.] [Fade out and in.] [Table sounds.]
MARY: Eat your supper, Billy. And stop asking your father if you can be a soldier. You can’t; you’re too young.
MARTHA: He’s too little, too.
BILLY: I’m not!
MARY: Martha, let Billy alone. And eat your own supper. Dick, dear, that was a fine editorial in the extra edition.
DICK: It was Will Comly’s idea, Mary. But I’m for it.
MARY: Does it really mean war? People say the Union troops can stop a rebellion in two weeks.
DICK: I wish I thought so. Still, it may not take so long.
MARY: Dick . . . you won’t have to go, will you?
DICK: I don’t think so. The Dayton Light Guards, the Light Artillery and the Lafayette Guards will offer their services to Governor Dennison. There’ll be plenty of young volunteers.
BILLY: Daddy, I want to go with the Light Guards.
DICK: I’m afraid they won’t take recruits ten years old, son.
MARTHA: There, Billy Landis! What did I tell you?
MARY: Now, Martha!
DICK: There’ll be a meeting of the Democrats tonight. Vallandigham is going to speak. I’ll have to cover it for the paper.
BILLY: Can I go, too, Daddy?
MARY: Certainly not! And if you don’t eat your supper, you’ll have to go to bed right away. [Fade out and in.]
CHAIRMAN: This meeting should endorse the editorial which appeared in today’s Dayton Empire . . . a powerful answer to the statement made by the Journal. I’ll read it to you. Civil War is upon us by the act of the Lincoln administration and as the natural result of the election of Lincoln. Having taken our position at the beginning, against the policy of coercion, we intend to stand by it to the end. Whatever others may do, we stand firm and immovable against men or money for a civil war. Let the watchword be, compromise, but no coercion, no war!
VOICES: That’s right! . . . I’m for that! . . . Mr. Chairman!
CHAIRMAN: Wait a minute! First of all, we’re going to hear from the Honorable Clement L. Vallandigham, Member of Congress from the Dayton district. [Applause.]
VAL: Democrats of Dayton! My position in regard to this civil war, which the Lincoln administration has inaugurated, was long since taken, is well known, and will be adhered to to the end. In the halls of the Congress I have consistently voted for compromise on the slavery issue, and against force. And I have publicly recognized the right of secession in these words. If any one or more of the States of the Union should at any time secede, for reasons of the sufficiency and justice of which, before God and the great tribunal of history, they alone may judge, much as I should deplore it, I never would, as a Representative in Congress, vote not one dollar of money whereby one drop of American blood should be shed in a civil war. I repeat these words here because . . . [Fades out and in.] And for these reasons I know well that I am right, and that in a little while the sober second thought of the people will dissipate the present sudden and fleeting public madness, and will demand to know why thirty millions of people are butchering each other in a civil war, and will arrest it speedily. This is my firm conviction. No menace, no public clamor, no taunts, no sneers, no foul detraction from any quarter, shall drive me from it. [Cheers.]
WORMAN: Mr. Chairman! Mr. Chairman!
CHAIRMAN: Mr. Worman.
WORMAN: It seems to me that we are going too far. I’m as good a Democrat as any of you. I’ve supported the policy of letting the South handle the slavery problem. But secession is different; it threatens the very life of the Union. I’m opposed to endorsing it. The Union Government has a right to put down open rebellion . . . by force, if necessary.
HOFER: Let me answer that, Mr. Chairman.
CHAIRMAN: Mr. Hofer.
HOFER: You’re not a good Democrat, Joe Worman. You’re a weak one. It’s this party’s duty to oppose Lincoln and all his works. Lincoln wants war. We’re the peace party; we want peace; and the best way to insure people is not go to war. [Applause.]
WORMAN: But, Frank, we have war now. And we’ll have it until this open rebellion of the South is put down.
HOFER: Are you going to enlist? [Laughter.]
WORMAN: I am.
HOFER: Well, I’m not . . . and neither are my two boys.
WORMAN: They may have to. Volunteers will supply all the troops they need at first, but if the war goes on there’ll be conscription.
HOFER: I’ll resist that. They’re not going to get my boys in the army.
VOICES: So will I . . . Me, too . . . They can’t make you fight.
WORMAN: Gentlemen, listen just a moment, won’t you?
HOFER: We’ve heard enough from you, Joe Worman.
VOICES: That’s right . . . We sure have . . . Throw him out . . . Mr. Chairman!
CHAIRMAN: Order! Order! Order, please! [Fade out and in.]
[Telegraph and voices off.]
COMLY: Well, how was it Dick?
DICK: Pretty bad. Joe Worman and one or two other conservatives argued for moderation, but the radicals, led by Frank Hofer, howled them down.
COMLY: How about Vallandigham?
DICK: Will, Vallandigham is a dangerous man.
DICK: Yes. He’s perfectly sincere, and he’s a powerful speaker. That means he can sway crowds. It won’t be so bad if they just followed him, because he’s opposed to all violence. But, fired by his convictions, the hot-heads are likely to take things into their own hands. Then there will be violence.
COMLY: Violent talk, maybe, but . . .
DICK: You wait and see. (PAUSE.) Did you get the enlistment story from Columbus?
COMLY: Yes, by wire. Governor Dennison has accepted the services of Dayton militia companies. They’ll be moving out tomorrow or the next day.
DICK: Good! The sooner we get at this, the sooner it’ll be over. [Fade out and in.]
[Crowd sound on.] [Band and singing coming on. Song should be “The Union Forever.”]
VOICE: Here they come! Here they come!
MARY: Children, stay with us! Billy, come back here! Martha, you hold my hand. [Band and singing full on.] [Cheers up.]
VOICE 1: [Off.] Companies, halt! [Band and singing out.]
MARY: Dick, the soldiers do look fine in their bright uniforms!
DICK: Better than they will when they come back.
MARY: But they won’t be gone long, will they?
DICK: Their enlistment is for three months. And I only hope that will be long enough.
VOICE 1: [Off.] Each company will occupy two railway cars under the command of its own officers. Fall out and entrain! [Crowd sound up.]
VOICE 2: Dayton Light Guards, this way! Single file! Hurry it up!
VOICES: [Ad lib.] That’s it, boys! Give it to them! . . . You can lick the rebels in a month! . . . Hurrah for our boys! [Engine bell and steam.]
VOICE 3: [Off.] All aboard! [Train starts and fades.] [Cheers continue behind . . .]
MARY: It’s sad, Dick, for all the cheering. They’re so young. And some of them may never come back.
DICK: None of them thinks that. They were cheering louder than the crowd that came to see them off.
MARTHA: Why are you crying, Mother?
MARY: I’m not, Martha, dear. Come, dear. Come on, Billy. It’s nearly supper time. We must go home. [Fade out and in.]
[Murmur of women’s voices.]
MRS. JEWETT: And now, ladies, I’m going to ask Mrs. Kirby to read a letter which has been received by our Soliders’ Aid Society. [Flutter of voices.]
MRS. KIRBY: Thank you, Mrs. Jewett. [Reads.] To the ladies of the Soldiers’ Aid Society of Dayton, Ohio. Permit me to express to your Society our deep-felt thanks for the handsome flag which you have made for our regiment. The flag was formally accepted, at a ceremony here in our camp in Virginia, by General Robert Schenck, and was immediately placed with the Dayton Light Guard, which is our color company. Our sincere gratitude comes from the men of the entire regiment, and especially from Lieutenant Colonel Parrott, Major Hughes and the other Dayton officers. [Signed.] Alexander McCook, Colonel, First Ohio Volunteer Infantry. [Applause.]
MRS. JEWETT: I’m sure we can all take great pride in that letter. And now I think we should discuss plans for our bazaar next week. Mrs. Pease, if your committee is ready to report, we’ll be glad to hear what . . . [Fade out and in.]
[Telegraph and voices off.]
COMLY: It doesn’t seem like three months, Dick, but it is . . . and more. And the war’s still going on.
DICK: You wouldn’t think it, to see the reception the Dayton boys got when they came back yesterday. Guns booming, bands, parades, speeches. It sounded like a victory celebration.
COMLY: Well, of course, their ninety-day enlistments were up. Still, I think Dayton people are too confident . . . especially after the battle of Bull Run.
DICK: I know. The North calls it a strategic retreat. But the truth is that the Union forces were badly beaten. These Rebels can fight.
COMLY: Maybe we’ll get some idea of the future prospects from Colonel McCook. He’s going to speak tonight at the banquet they’re giving for the Dayton officers.
DICK: I’ll be glad to hear him. He’s from the Regular Army, and he’ll know what he’s talking about. [Fade out and in.]
[Table sounds. Laughter. Chatter behind . . . ]
MRS. JEWETT: We’re so proud of our Dayton boys, Colonel McCook.
MCCOOK: You have a right to be, Mrs. Jewett.
MRS. KIRBY: And especially of our officers, Colonel.
MCCOOK: Yes, Mrs. Kirby, they’re good officers . . . as good as the soldiers they commanded.
MRS. JEWETT: Colonel, I see the Mayor getting up. That means you’re going to be called on for a speech. I can hardly wait to hear what you have to say.
MCCOOK: I only hope you’ll believe it, Madame. [Rap for order.] [Laughter and talk subside.]
MAYOR: Ladies and gentlemen! This is a notable occasion. We are proud to welcome tonight the gallant officers of the Dayton troops who have campaigned in the defense of our glorious Union. I know that some of us are impatient for victory, disappointed that the Union troops have not already put down the Rebellion. But I am sure, by reason of private information coming to me in my official capacity, that an early triumph is to be expected. It is, therefore, a pleasure to introduce a man who is well qualified to paint a detailed picture of the over-whelming victory soon to be won by the Union forces. I am honored in presenting Colonel Alexander McCook, of the First Ohio Volunteer Infantry. [Applause.]
MCCOOK: Your Honor, ladies and gentlemen! I am by disposition, training and experience, a professional solider. You will, therefore, find my few remarks characterized more by bluntness than by diplomacy. I think, however, that you will hear the truth. (PAUSE.) For the officers and soldiers of Dayton, who fought with my regiment, I have high praise. They submitted themselves readily to military discipline and training. They met the enemy under difficult conditions, and they fought extremely well. You should be proud of them. [Applause.] As to the prospect for an early triumph over the Confederacy, I must disagree with the almost universal popular opinion. I have never thought, knowing as I do the courage and spirit of Southern troops, that victory would be easy. I think so still less, having met those troops. The South is fighting for its most cherished institution, almost for its life . . . and the South knows how to fight. At Bull Run we were defeated . . . not by braver troops, but by better troops, better armed and equipped. We shall be defeated again, and perhaps again, until we learn here in the North that this is not a minor insurrection, but a civil war which will demand every ounce of our military and moral strength before it is finished. We must win in the end . . . for the preservation of the Union. Many of you here tonight see an easy victory before the coming of winter. As a soldier, I can see victory only at the end of a long and weary road which stretches far into the future. [Scattered and uncertain applause.]
DICK: Will, there’s a man that Dayton people ought to listen to.
COMLY: He told them the truth, Dick. I wonder if they’ll have the sense and courage to believe it.
MAYOR: It is good for all of us . . . uh . . . at least, I suppose it is, to . . . uh . . . to hear opinions differing . . . uh . . . somewhat from our own. And I’m sure we are all very . . . uh . . . grateful to Colonel McCook for his . . . uh . . . enlightening remarks. And now I suggest that as a means of expressing our patriotism, our loyalty to the Union Government, our determination to win ultimate victory . . . [Fades out.] (PAUSE.) [Music.]
VOICE 1: Now are begun the long years of suffering and sorrow. The hundreds who marched away singing, at the first, are followed by thousands more. The Union armies know them, place their names upon the rolls of victories never to be forgotten. Some return as they left, to useful lives. Some return broken or unseeing, to live their years in pain or darkness. And some return never from the battle-swept fields where they have fallen. (PAUSE.)
VOICE 2: There are open hearts and purses, willing, tireless hands, to help those left destitute of husbands and fathers. Food and clothing, shelter and warmth . . . these are made possible by the ceaseless self-sacrifice of devoted women. It is their hands, too, which pluck with infinite patience the threads of lint, that there may be bandages to staunch the wounds of far-off conflict. (PAUSE.)
VOICE 3: To pain and grief are added the bitterness of strife and dissension where there should be only unity of courage and purpose. Hatred flames, setting friend against friend, brother against brother, even within the community itself. So march with heavy tread the weary days of war. And days grow into weeks and months until, at last, almost two years have passed since first the cannon spoke. [Music.]
(DEAD PAUSE.) [Table sounds.]
MARY: I’m so tired, Dick. Our whole Aid Society, forty of us, worked all day, mending and piecing old clothes, trying to make them do for the families that need help so badly. And little Martha picked lint all day, too.
MARTHA: I did, Daddy. I picked bushels of it, enough to make miles and miles of bandages.
DICK: I’m sure you did, honey. And what did you do, Billy?
BILLY: Me and Ed Bradford . . .
MARY: Ed Bradford and I, darling.
BILLY: Yes’m. Ed Bradford and I and Tommy Dawson hauled five wagon-loads of wood for the Aid Society. Then this afternoon our boys’ company drilled. Dad!
DICK: Yes, son.
BILLY: Next week I’ll be a corporal. I’ll have chevrons and everything.
DICK: That’s fine, Billy. I’m proud of you.
MARY: Children, if you’ve finished your suppers, you can go out and play for a while before bedtime.
MARTHA: Oh, goody! [Chairs scrape.]
BILLY: [Receding.] Don’t you come tagging along with me, Martha. Our drill company’s going to . . .
MARTHA: [Off.] I will, too. (PAUSE.)
MARY: [Sobbing.] Dick! Dick!
DICK: Why, Mary, darling, what’s the matter?
MARY: Sometimes I think I can’t stand it another day. This terrible war . . . this horrible curse on all of us. Killing, killing, killing!
DICK: There, there, dear. You mustn’t let yourself go like this.
MARY: Let myself go? Can’t you see them? . . . You men? Can’t you see the dead? Day after day, week after week . . . an endless procession of flag-draped coffins. And what good are the flags, and the music, and the rifle volleys, and the bugles? What good are they to the women of Dayton? Under those flags are our husbands . . . or our sons.
DICK: Mary, darling, please!
MARY: Oh, I know, Dick. I shouldn’t be this way. I have you . . . and I have Billy. Most of the time I’m glad . . . glad! But sometimes . . . when this awful thing strikes at other women, women I’ve known since we were little girls . . . then . . . then . . . I’m ashamed to the bottom of my soul.
DICK: There, here, darling, put your head on my shoulder. (PAUSE.) I’ll not go back to the office tonight. I’ll stay with you.
MARY: [Rallying.] No, no, you mustn’t! This . . . this just had to pour itself out to someone. I . . . I’ll be all right now. Kiss me, darling. [Fade out and in.]
[Telegraph and voices off.]
COMLY: Look at this, Dick. It came in by wire while you were home at supper.
DICK: [Reads, half to himself.] Headquarters, Department of the Ohio. Cincinnati, April 13, 1863 . . . [Speaks.] Is it only two years since all this started, Will?
COMLY: It seems like a whole lifetime.
DICK: [Reads.] General Orders, No. 38. Commanding General publishes for the information . . . will be tried as spies and traitors . . . suffer death . . . this order includes carriers of secret mails . . . persons passing our lines . . . persons harboring or concealing enemies . . . [Speaks.] Ah! This is the part you meant, isn’t it? [Reads.] The habit of declaring sympathies for the enemy will not be allowed in this department. Persons committing such offenses will be at once arrested, with a view to being tried as stated above. [Speaks.] That means just one man, of course . . . Vallindigham.
ORDERLY: Colonel Parrott, reporting to General Burnside, sir.
BURNSIDE: Send him in, orderly.
ORDERLY: Yes, sir. [Footsteps on. Door closes.]
BURNSIDE: Sit down, Colonel Parrott. (PAUSE.) You’re from Dayton, aren’t you?
PARROTT: Yes, General.
BURNSIDE: Do you know Congressman Vallandigham . . . and just where he lives in Dayton?
PARRIOTT: Yes, sir, I know him quite well. He lives on the north side of First Street, between Ludlow and Wilkinson Streets.
BURNSIDE: Good. Vallandigham made a speech at Mount Vernon, Ohio, yesterday, which was in clear violation of General Orders, No. 38. I have here an order for his military arrest, which you will carry out.
PARROTT: I . . . I’d like to be excused from that duty, sir. I . . .
BURNSIDE: This is an order, Colonel Parrott.
PARROTT: Yes, sir.
BURNSIDE: That’s all, Colonel Parrott.
[Train sound in and out.]
PARROTT: All right, this is the house. One squad go around to the back, and one to each side. We’ll go in the front as soon as you’re posted.
VOICE: Yes, sir. (LONG PAUSE.) [Knock on door.]
PARROTT: Vallandigham! (PAUSE.) [Knock repeated.] Vallandigham, open up! (LONG PAUSE.) All right, you men with the axes. Smash the doors! [Sound of axes. Breaking wood. Footsteps.] That’s it. Now, two squads cover the first floor and cellar, and two more go to the upper floors. [Footsteps receding.] (LONG PAUSE.)
VOICE: [Off.] Here he is, Colonel Parrott.
PARROTT: Bring him down. [Footsteps.]
VAL.: [Coming on.] I protest against this outrage of the Bill of Rights, Colonel Parrott!
PARROTT: I’m sorry, Mr. Vallandigham. I’m acting under General Burnside’s orders. This is a military arrest.
VAL : But it’s unconstitutional!
PARROTT: The courts will have to decide that. Sergeant, put him in the middle of a squad and reform the company outside. We’ll march to the station immediately. [Train sound in and out.]
[Angry men’s voices.]
HOFER: Mr. Chairman!
CHAIRMAN: Mr. Hofer.
HOFER: I want to know whether we peace Democrats of Dayton are going to stand for this. [Shouts of “No.”] It was a cowardly act . . . sending a troop of soldiers to arrest him in the middle of the night. Are we going to stand for it? [Shouts of “No.”]
WORMAN: I don’t see what we’re going to do about it right now. Vallandigham is under military arrest. He’s in Cincinnati. We can’t go down there and take him away from the Army.
HOFER: All right, Joe Worman, I’ll tell you what we’re going to do about it. The Dayton Journal has been against Vallandigham and against us, from first to last. We’re going up there tonight, right now, and smash that place to bits.
VOICES: That’s right, Frank! . . . Yes, let’s go! . . . Come on!
CHAIRMAN: Gentlemen! Gentlemen! As your chairman, I must forbid this. It’s worse than wrong; it’s foolish! We’ll have the whole town against us!
HOFER: You can’t stop us, any more than Joe Worman can! Come on, who’s with me? [Crowd roar.] [Fade out and in.]
[Telegraph and voices off.]
DICK: I’ll be on the desk tonight, Ed, while Mr. Comly’s out. You can go as soon as you close your wire.
PETERS: All right, Dick. This has certainly been a night. The wire’s been hot with inquires from all over about Vallandigham. [Crowd sound off.]
DICK: There’ll be more tomorrow. He’s known all over the country. [Crowd sound up.]
PETERS: What’s that? Sounds like a mob. (PAUSE.) It is! Dick, they’re coming here! [Crowd sound full on.]
HOFER: [Coming on.] Where’s Will Comley, Landis?
DICK: He’s not here.
HOFER: All right. You’ll do. Give it to him, boys! [Sound of struggle. Cry of pain.] That’s all right; let him go! Now, wreck the place! Turn over all those desks and type cases. Smash the presses! And here . . . take all this loose paper and start fires in every corner. [Wood crashes.] That’s it! [Fire sound]. Now, light another over there! [Fire sound up.] Now, they’re burning! [Fire rises over other sounds.] [Fade out and in.]
MARY: Dick, dear, here’s Mr. Comly to see you.
COMLY: Hello, Dick, my boy. Why, you’re looking fine today!
DICK: Thanks, Will, for coming in again to see the cripple.
COMLY: Cripple, nothing! A broken leg. You’re lucky it wasn’t your neck. Two or three more weeks and you’ll be up and around, as good as ever.
DICK: What do you hear about Vallandigham?
COMLY: Nothing, since they passed him through the Confederate lines. I’m glad they didn’t kill him.
DICK: So am I. How are things at the office?
COMLY: There isn’t much office yet . . . not after what the fire did to us. But we’re getting out a small paper every day, and we’ll get new presses soon. Ed Peters and the rest of the will be glad to see you back.
DICK: I’ll be glad to be there. The war’s going better, don’t you think?
COMLY: Yes. Lee’s defeat at Gettysburg and Grant’s capture of Vicksburg are big feathers in the Northern cap. Now, if Grant can just . . . [Fades out and in.]
MARY: Are you sure you feel all right, Dick?
DICK: Of course, Mary. This is November. I’ve been out of bed and going to the office for nearly four months.
MARY: And you won’t get tired, dear, even if the church is crowded and you have to stand?
DICK: Don’t worry about me. [Church bell tolls off.]
MARY: Come, children! We’ll be late if we don’t hurry.
BILLY: [Coming on.] Is this going to be a real funeral, Dad . . . a soldier’s funeral?
DICK: No, Son, it’s a memorial service, a service in memory of all the soldiers who have died.
MARTHA: Mother, I can’t find my handkerchief, and I just know I’m going to cry.
MARY: I have an extra one for you, darling. We must start now. [Bell toll up . . . stops.] (PAUSE.) [Murmur of voices.]
PASTOR: WE are gathered here today in reverence to God and in memory of those sons of Dayton who have sacrificed their lives in the Union Cause. There is a special significance for all of us in this service, for even now, as we are assembled to honor the dead, our President is engaged in the dedication of a great national cemetery on the battlefield of Gettysburg. And so we may feel that he is with us in spirit. (PAUSE.) And now let all of us, of whatever faith or denomination, bow our heads briefly in silent prayer. (LONG PAUSE.)
LINCOLN: [Off.] Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We are come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate . . . we cannot consecrate . . . we cannot hallow . . . this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us . . . that from there honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. [Music.]
(LONG PAUSE.) [Knock on door.] (PAUSE.)
DICK: [Off.] Who is it?
PETERS: It’s me, Dick, Ed Peters. [Bells begin to ring off.]
PETERS: Ed Peters. [More bells in.] Get up! Get your whole family up! Lee has surrendered! The war is over!
DICK: Are you crazy, Ed?
PETERS: Listen, if you don’t believe me! [Bells up. Whistles. Shouts.]
DICK: Mary! Mary! Wake the children! The war’s over!
MARY: Martha! Billy!
MARTHA: [Sleepily.] What, mother?
MARY: Wake up! And wake Billy! Oh, Dick, darling, I’m so happy! [Bells, whistles, shouts up. Song, “The Union Forever,” off.] [Fade out and in.]
[Telegraph and voices off.]
COMLY: The war’s been over almost a week, Dick, but I can still hardly believe it.
DICK: It’s a different world, isn’t it?
COMLY: And a better one, a much better one! Dick, America can go ahead now, unfettered as the slaves who’ve been freed. This can become the greatest nation in the world.
DICK: But there’s something I’m afraid of, Will.
COMLY: What is it you’re afraid of, now?
DICK: Ourselves . . . the North.
DICK: Yes. The bitterness and rancor aren’t gone, not by any means. And they won’t be for years. There’ll be those among us who’ll want revenge, who’ll want to punish for the sake of punishment, who’ll want to rule because they’ve conquered. (PAUSE.) That’s our danger now, Will.
COMLY: [Slowly.] Yes, I think you’re right. [Brightening.] But, Dick, that can’t be . . . not with Abraham Lincoln in the White House.
DICK: And he’s our hope, and only hope, of being saved from ourselves. With his tolerance and patience and understanding to guide us . . .
PETERS: [Off.] Will! Will! [Coming on.] Will, I can’t believe it! It came in on the wire just now, but it can’t be true! It can’t!
COMLY: Let’s see it, Ed. [Gasps.] May God have mercy on us now! (PAUSE.) [Loud.] Quiet! Quiet, everyone! [Telegraph and voices out.] [Slowly, wearily, his voice breaking.] President Lincoln has been assassinated. (LONG DEAD PAUSE.) [A deep-toned bell tolls very slowly, continuing behind . . . ] [A bugle sounds taps far off.] [Music.]
ANNOUNCER: [Very quietly.] Ladies and gentlemen. You have been listening to a presentation of “Great Days in Dayton.” This program is sponsored by The Dayton Power and Light Company. [Music.]
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