My Brother Sam Is Dead
"Have you ever seen a dear friend lying in the grass with the top of his skull off and his brains sliding out of them like wet oats? Have you ever looked into the eyes of a man with his throat cut and the blood pouring out between his fingers, knowing that there was nothing he could do, in five minutes he would be dead, yet still trying to beg for grace and not being able because his windpipe was cut in two? Have you ever heard a man shriek when he felt a bayonet go through the middle of his back? I have, Sam, I have." (1.156)
"What's the use of principles if you have to be dead to keep them? We're Englishmen, Timmy. Of course there are injustices, there are always injustices, that's the way of God's world. But you never get rid of injustices by fighting. Look at Europe, they've had one war after another for hundreds of years, and show me where anything ever got any better for them." (2.17)
"There are principles involved, Tim. Either you live up to your principles or you don't and maybe you have to take a chance on getting killed."
"Who wants to get killed?"
"Nobody wants to get killed," Sam said. But you should be willing to die for your principles."
"That's right," Betsy said.
"But Betsy, you don't have to take a chance on getting killed," I said.
"I'd fight if I could," she said. (2.52-57)