In 1945 Chaplain Corpening encouraged his readers to not allow their initial good intentions for personal improvement to fall by the wayside during war, but rather that they should begin the “real victory march” and be the men that will make their friends and family proud. It is a message that our men and women in uniform today still need to hear. Chaplain Corpening was the chaplain at the Army Air Force Engineer Command in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in 1945. The organization published a weekly newsletter called Engineerful which included a “Chaplain’s Chat” section where Chaplain Corpening’s plea appeared in the 19 August 1945 issue.
Have We Won?
by Chaplain Corpeneing
“For a number of years before our present emergency, I was Chaplain in the Civilian Conservation Corps. Among the camps that I had were five World War 1 veteran companies. While many of these men had been temporarily caught in a bad depression, a rather high per cent were men who could not hold a job in private industry because they were periodic or habitual drinkers. If a man helps to win the war and then loses his own life of usefulness to his family and community by his lack of self control, has he won?
“Many a man came overseas with a resolution in his heart to break certain harmful habits or to begin a new kind of life entirely based on the life and example of Jesus, but for some reason he has done neither. Has he won?
“Many a man now says to himself, ‘When I get back, I intend to begin all over again.’ Will he? Maybe so. He will be sure to have the nerve to do it–if he begins now.
“The war that we have been fighting was for the purpose of guaranteeing certain freedom and opportunities to our loved ones as well as to the nations of the world. Have we won if we permit our own weaknesses to deprive them of opportunities or to make them ashamed of our language or conduct instead of being able to hold their heads high and point with pride toward us as their sons, husbands, or dads?
“Let’s begin a real victory march now, not one that will make our friends and loved ones ashamed, and that will fill our own souls with disgust.