Celestial Lands The Religious Crossroads of Politics, Power, and Theology

“Letter from Col. Dubois” by Robert Heinlein

The following is a reading from a fictional story. It is a part of a letter that an old teacher and retired Infantry Colonel sent to a young recruit who had once been his student. The story was written by Robert Heinlein.

“You are now going through the hardest part of your service—not the hardest physically (though physical hardship will never trouble you again; you now have its measure), but the hardest spiritually… the deep, soul-turning readjustments and re-evaluations necessary to metamorphize a potential citizen to one in being. Or, rather I should say: you have already gone through the hardest part, despite all the tribulations you still have ahead of you and all the hurdles, each higher than the last, which you still must clear. But it is that “hump” that counts – and, knowing you, lad, I know that I have waited long enough to be sure that you are past your “hump” – or you would be home now.

When you reached that spiritual mountaintop you felt something, a new something. Perhaps you haven’t words for it (I know I didn’t, when I was a boot). So perhaps you will permit an older comrade to lend you the words, since it often helps to have discrete words. Simply this: The noblest fate that a person can endure is to place their own mortal body between their loved home and war’s desolation.”

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