An American, I went to Belgium at the beginning of the war with an open mind. I had few, if any, prejudices. I knew the English, the French, the Belgians, the Germans equally well. I had friends in all four countries and many happy recollections of days I had spent in each. When I left Antwerp after the German occupation I was as pro-Belgian as though I had been born under the red-black-and- yellow banner. I had seen a country, one of the loveliest and most peaceable in Europe, invaded by a ruthless and brutal soldiery; I had seen its towns and cities blackened by fire and broken by shell; I had seen its churches and its historic monuments destroyed; I had seen its highways crowded with hunted, homeless fugitives; I had seen its fertile fields strewn with the corpses of what had once been the manhood of the nation; I had seen its women left husbandless and its children left fatherless; I had seen what was once a Garden of the Lord turned into a land of desolation; and I had seen its people–a people whom I, like the rest of the world, had always thought of as pleasure-loving, inefficient, easy-going–I had seen this people, I say, aroused, resourceful, unafraid, and fighting, fighting, fighting. Do you wonder that they captured my imagination, that they won my admiration? I am pro-Belgian; I admit it frankly. I should be ashamed to be anything else.
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