THE LESSON—That the same spirit which brings success in war must animate the fighters against evil.
Rally Day, which is observed at the opening of the autumn activities of most schools, has become one of the greatest days of the Sunday School year. It should be made a glad occasion of reunion and resolution. This talk is unique, in that
"It was fifty years ago, boys and girls, that the terrible war between the North and the South was in progress. On both sides the soldiers were bravely loyal to their cause, for the reason that each great army believed it was right; each side rallied round its flag—and loyalty was the thing most necessary. In most conflicts, as in the case of one nation fighting with another, it is only necessary to bring a war to a point where the weaker is convinced of the superior strength of its enemy. Then the war ends and the weaker is still a nation and has lost only that which was destroyed during the course of the struggle, together with that which may he demanded as concessions by the victorious army. Both nations retain their existence as before. It was not so with the struggle between the North and the South. Before this terrible war could end, it was necessary that one or the other of the fighting governments be wiped out entirely as a nation. Otherwise there could never have been any peace. This is what made the war one of the most terrible in the history of the world.
"It was a time when loyalty was demanded by both sides to the conflict, when men were summoned to rally round their flags. On the side of the North the soldiers bravely gathered in hosts of hundreds of thousands around this flag, which is now beloved throughout our reunited states (while the South was just as true and brave and sincere in the belief that they were right, in their convictions, and for which they fought).
[As you draw the United States flag, in red, white and blue, Fig. 27, have the school sing "The Red, White and Blue," or have the song sung as a solo or played by orchestra, pianist or organist. This makes a very effective feature, as some time is required to draw the flag. Be careful to construct the flag properly. To save time, use only thirteen stars.]
"Why did the boys in blue rally round this flag? It was not because of its beauty, even though we think it the handsomest flag in all the world; it was not because it was made of valuable materials. No—it was because it stood for something—for liberty, for unity. And they knew that in order to uphold the principles for which it stood they must cling together and fight manfully. Each might fight bravely by himself, but disaster would come unless they worked together and in harmony.
"We, today, are like the boys in blue in the dark days of the war. We, too, have a flag which we love dearly—the banner of the cross.
[While you draw the conquest flag, use the song "The Banner of the Cross" in the same manner as before. When completed your drawing will resemble Fig. 28. Use blue for the body of the flag and red for the cross.]
"This is the banner round which our school rallies today. We have come together once more to strengthen our army of boys and girls to fight against wrong. And our littlest fighters are the best fighters we have. Why? Because it is a warfare that never ends and the little ones have many more years in which to fight than the older ones have. And, strangest of all, the weapons most effective are kindness, love, prayer and steadfastness—these will drive away the great enemy of us all—sin. The boys in blue rallied around their flag because it represents our country, the land we love so well. We rally around this flag because it represents everything that is best here on earth and in heaven. Let us be loyal to these two beautiful banners. We cannot be true to one without being true to the other.
"Let us make this school year the best we ever knew. We can do it if we will be true to everything for which these two flags stand—the red for love, the white for purity and the blue for loyalty."
[It is suggested that the pupils be presented with small American and conquest flags as souvenirs. These are inexpensive and may be procured from Sunday school supply houses. Celluloid buttons, displaying the two flags, would be acceptable souvenirs of the day.]