From the editor: August 8th, 2014
Save the Dates
September 19, 2014—Eric Metaxas will be the featured speaker at the Illinois Family Institute's annual Faith, Family and Freedom Banquet. Metaxas is the author of the bestseller, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.
September 24, 2014—Ryan T. Anderson will be the featured speaker at Catholic Citizens of Illinois' Annual Dinner. Anderson, an articulate defender of marriage and life, is the editor of Public Discourse.
August 2014 marks the centennial of the start of the First World War. More than 70 million combatants took part; 9 million lost their lives. One of them was James C. Gold, the father of my great aunt Helen. Gold, a private in the Scottish Royal Fusiliers, was killed on September 29, 1915 during the Battle of Loos in Belgium.
Four days earlier, another Scottish battalion at Loos, the King's Own Borderers, retreated from their advance after meeting heavy enemy fire and poison gas. They remained shaken in their trenches until a lone 40-year-old piper, Daniel Logan Laidlaw, got out of the trench and piped, marching back and forth along the parapet, playing the men out of their trenches into the attack, which they won against the enemy. Laidlaw was wounded during the attack, but continued to play. For his valor he was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award for valor that any British soldier can receive. Laidlaw died in 1950 at 74. (Video link)
During the war, more than 1,000 pipers were killed. They were often the first up from the trench, leading men into the fray with their stirring music. Many soldiers have said that there is something about the bagpipe that lifts them above themselves during battle and gives them courage. Perhaps it is the example of the piper's courage itself. Someone has to lead the troops, and in the case of Loos, Laidlaw's action prevented the formation of a breach in the British lines.
In such times as these, when it seems many are in full retreat, we need the courage of men like Daniel Laidlaw. We need those who will play the anthems of the Faith clearly above the noise of battle, lest we despair of the Lord's promised victory.
At Touchstone, we understand this. Our editors—such as Robert George, Anthony Esolen, Russell Moore, Fr. Patrick Reardon, and Allan Carlson—have piped, if you will, the tunes of Christian faith and fidelity regardless of where they find themselves.
We applaud all the brave men and women who stand up for truth in their churches, communities, and schools. We salute the godly pastors, teachers, and leaders who pass on the Tradition. We especially honor those who face and suffer persecution and death today for the sake of Jesus. They are the lifeblood of the Church, the salt of the earth, sustained, as we would readily confess, by the grace of Christ, who said, "Apart from me, you can do nothing." With him, we are more than conquerors.
Yours for Christ, Creed & Culture,
—James M. Kushiner