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[69]

Address of William H. Armstrong at Memorial service October 31, 1909.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen: If I was to change my business or occupation, I would want to be a civil engineer. The study and education necessary to fit one for that work, the right sighting and accurate calculation, are the very things needed to start a man on his way for the business of life, be it what it may. George Washington was a surveyor, or civil engineer. He sighted a path through the trackless forest, set the corner-stones of towns, and ran the lines of estates in Virginia which stand to-day undisputed. The victorious army of the great Napoleon came to the bank of a river, and there found for the first time in all Europe something to halt their onward march. Calling his engineer, Napoleon said: ‘Tell me the distance across this stream.’ ‘Sire,’ said the engineer, ‘I cannot. I know no way by which it can be measured.’ ‘Tell me the distance across this river within one hour, or my corps will be without one of its engineers.’ Then came in play the training of the man in sighting and calculating distances. He fixed his eye on the opposite bank, where the water touched the shore; he pulled the visor of his cap down until it just met the edge of his view, and then, turning around, he sighted down the bank on which he stood to a certain mark. He paced this distance, reported his findings, and that night the army camped on the farther side of the river.

There are men with certain education and training whom we cannot do without; they are needed. No country can do without them, no army can do without them, no state, city, or town but must have its surveyor, or engineer.

Somerville is a city most prosperous and beautiful. It is a queen among the cities and towns of our glorious Commonwealth, and our friend had much to do with its beauty and prosperity. We were very fortunate in having for our first engineer Charles D. Elliot. He knew, as no one else could, the lay of the land, with its hills and its valleys. His trained eye saw

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