A suggestion from Dr. Benjamin Rush (1745-1813), signer of the Declaration of Independence and pioneer psychiatrist.
Signs of War
In order more deeply to affect the minds of the citizens of the United States with the blessings of peace, by contrasting them with the evils of war, let the following inscriptions be painted upon the sign, which is placed over the door of the War Office.
- An office for butchering the human species.
- A widow and orphan making office.
- A broken bone making office.
- A wooden leg making office.
- An office for creating public and private vices.
- An office for creating a public debt.
- An office for creating speculators, stock jobbers, and bankrupts.
- An office for creating famine.
- An office for creating pestilential diseases.
- An office for creating poverty, and the destruction of liberty and national happiness.
In the lobby of this office let there be painted representations of all the common military instruments of death, also human skulls, broken bones, unburied and putrefying dead bodies, hospitals crowded with sick and wounded soldiers, villages on fire, mothers in besieged towns eating the flesh of their children, ships sinking in the ocean, rivers dyed with blood, and extensive plains without a tree or fence, or any other object, but the ruins of deserted farm houses.
Above this group of woeful figures, let the following words be inserted, in red characters to represent human blood: “National Glory.”
The above is excerpted from Selected Writings of Benjamin Rush, edited by Dagober D. Runes, published in 1947 by the Philosophical Library, Inc., New York, N. Y.
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