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Graeve, Oscar (ed.) / Delineator
Vol. 119, No. 1 (July, 1931)

Sangster, Margaret
Field of honor,   pp. 8-9 PDF (1.1 MB)

Page 9

J U L Y,
truthfully.  It was no matter of pride to any of
them that the town's service flag held only one gold star.
They refused to laugh when some outsider referred to the
action that their company had seen. Loading supplies,
unloading trains, and sleeping in the mud had not been
any more humorous than it had been heroic. Not one of
them had seen a battle, or Paris. They had stayed put,
until they were ordered home. Only Bill Clancy, in an
unexplained fit of recklessness, had ventured far enough
away from camp to be shot by a stray sniper; a stray
sniper who must have been lost himself, he was so many
miles away from his own line .
It wasa pleasant voice, with a pleasant touch of a brogue
in it, that broke at last through the short period of
"Shure, it sounds all right, to me," said the voice. "Th'
William Clancy Post o' th' American Legion. After all,
nobody but us knows that he didn't die game."
There was another pause; shorter, more expressive. It
was the ex-sergeant who finally spoke.
"Aw," he said briefly, "let's make it a sportin' proposi-
tion. We'll flip a coin. If it comes heads we'll name the
post after him-an' like it! If it comes tails, we'll go on
bein' known by a number, which'll be fairer and squarer,
to my way of thinkin'! Is the idea agreeable to the rest
of you gents?"
From around the table the grunts of assent rose again.
The ex-sergeant handed a coin to Buck Williams.
"It's my pocket-piece," he explained. "Th' first franc
that I ever won shootin' crap wit' a Frog. You flip it!"
Buck Williams took the coin gingerly in his hand.
"It's agreeable to th' rest?" he echoed.
For the third time came the chorus of grunts, punctu-
ated here and there with a "Go to it, ol' kid!" With a
sheepish grin, Buck Williams flipped the coin.
The ex-sergeant bent eagerly over the table. The
others crowded close. And then, all at once, the ex-
sergeant laughed.
"I reckon," he said slowly, "that the joke's on me, on
us. Heads it is, an' we're named for somebody that never
did anything but die." He paused, and then, "But he is
dead," he said almost fiercely, "he is dead! An' why he's
dead an' how he kicked off is between us. See?"
So it was that the William Clancy Post of the American
Legion got its name.
N   ELLIE CLANCY met the postman as she was start-
ing off to the button factory where she worked. She
opened the letter that he handed her, quite unhesitat-
ingly, although it was addressed to her mother. And
her wide gray eyes grew suddenly wider as she started to
read it.
"Hey, ma," she called, "Hey, ma. Come quick!"
Ma Clancy came, as quickly as her huge, slovenly bulk
would permit. She rubbed her soapy hands on her soiled
apron, as she drew near.
"What's all th' fuss about, Nellie?" she asked wearily.
Nellie's voice held more of excitement, more of thrill
and expression, than it usually did.
"It's from the American Legion, ma," she said. "It's
a letter. Guess what?"
"How," questioned Mrs. Clancy, still more wearily,
"could I be guessin'? I don't know nothin' about Ameri-
can Legions. I don't know nothin' about any of 'em
An' I don't care nothin', neither."
Nellie Clancy was not listening. The thrill grew in her
voice as she read from the letter.
"Resolved," she read, "that this Post be hereafter
named the William Clancy Post, in honor of our gallant
comrade who died bravely on the field of honor. And
resolved that, in a letter to our comrade's family . . ."
Nellie Clancy's voice had ceased. But her lips were
still parted in sheer amazement.
"Bill!" she said slowly. "What d' ya know 'bout it? Bill!"
Mrs. Clancy was still rubbing her hands on her apron.
"What's it all mean?" she questioned, dully. "What's
this resolved stuff stand fer? Do we owe sumpin' to
Nellie met her mother's eyes with a look of veiled con-
"Gosh," she snorted, "gosh!" And then, "You don't
never understand, ma! It's Bill-our Bill. Th' post,
they're namin' it after him. Because he died bravely, on
the field of honor!"
A quiver seemed to pass through the huge bulk of Mrs.
Clancy. All at once her fat hands were clasped-clasped
"I always knew," she half sobbed, "that he had good in
him. I always knew that he wasn't so bad as people said.
He was so pretty, when he was a baby, th' prettiest o' th'
children on th' block! He used t' put his little arms
around my neck an' smile at me. An' now--now he's
Nellie Clancy's face was expressionless. (Turn to page 38)
Ill ustrat      i nsby   "I'm Nellie Clancy," she announced, "and I've come to find out the truth
F. R .     GRU GER         about my brother."  Buck Williams, at a loss, saw the ex-sergeant's
eyes fill with something that might have been called admiration-plus
"Why," he asked, "do you want this position
so badly?" She blinked to keep back tears
of eagerness. "It's m' chance," she said
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79            A

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