“a small but efficient cog”

This won’t be a terribly long blog post, but I stumbled upon an engaging quote about the October 1, 1918 ceremony in which over 600 students took an oath of allegiance to the United States and joined the Student’s Army Training Corps. I found this quote in the 1919 Bugle (the Virginia Tech student yearbook):

“On October 1, 1918, just as the clock struck twelve, six hundred and more of Virginia’s son’s, standing at rigid attention, took the oath of allegiance to the United States… Having been duly sworn in, brief notes from President Wilson, General march, and the Acting Secretary of War were read to the entire V.P.I. Battalion, which from that moment lost it’s individuality, and became a small but efficient cog in a powerful organization. The old, dearly-beloved, blue and gray vanished, as if by magic, off of the campus, and its place was taken by a more modern, even more symbolic khaki and olive drab.”

At some point I’m going to have to spend more time talking about the SATC on this blog, but I’ll save that discussion for another time. But it will assuredly be a big item in my research. The line above reveals why the SATC is so important in this narrative, from the point that it is established the “dearly-beloved” uniform of the college disappears (as I mentioned in my last post) and is replaced by the “even more symbolic khaki and olive drab” of the Army.

The part that stood out the most to me was “from that moment lost it’s individuality, and became a small but efficient cog in a powerful organization.” Of course I have to remember that this line appears in a yearbook, but I wonder if this speaks to the feeling on campus at this moment?

Advertisements

One thought on ““a small but efficient cog””

  1. I’d be interested in knowing if this language of cogs and efficiency was part of the PR language from the Creel Commission (I think that’s the title) put out during the war. Seems as tho context for the student culture is going to be really important for your project. Another question…isn’t Oct. 1918 late to be initiating students/making them cogs? Or was this the ceremony for first-year students in 1918; a similar ceremony having taken place the year before?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s