[Ads-l] Motto: We have done so much with so little for so long, that now we can do anything with nothing

MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY RDECOM AMRDEC (US) william.d.mullins18.civ at MAIL.MIL
Fri Mar 24 10:02:07 EDT 2017


A line from a Winston Churchill speech of 20 Aug 1940, with similar construction, may have also been an influence:
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Never_was_so_much_owed_by_so_many_to_so_few


> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of ADSGarson O'Toole
> Sent: Monday, March 20, 2017 10:46 PM
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Subject:  Motto: We have done so much with so little for so long, that now we can do anything with nothing
> 
> The motto in the subject line has been used by military personnel. I received an inquiry about its provenance. Maybe JL has encountered it in
> his reading and has some insights about its origin. Some versions use "everything" instead of "anything"
> 
> The first citation below contains a description of Douglas MacArthur that may be viewed as a precursor. This text contains the key punchline
> element of doing "anything with nothing".
> 
> Date: March 26, 1942
> Newspaper: The Sandusky Register Star-News Newspaper Sandusky, Ohio
> Article: General Hugh Johnson Says
> Quote Page 4, Column 3
> Database: Newspapers.com
> 
> [Begin excerpt]
> The plaudits he has so justly won by doing so much with so little have left a sort of impression that he is a military magician who can do
> anything with nothing.
> [End excerpt]
> 
> Date: March 6, 1960
> Newspaper: Daily Press
> Newspaper Location: Newport News, Virginia Quote Page 3-A, Column 5
> Article: Eye on the Eagle
> Author: Howard Gibbons (Daily Press Military Editor)
> Database: Newspapers.com
> 
> [Begin excerpt]
> The tankers being flown out of Langley were built in the early 1950's, at the latest. Their refueling altitude is limited to under 30,000-feet,
> their refueling speed is less than 300 knots and their maintenance problems—because of age and high rate of usage — are sometimes
> almost more than can be met—although the tankers have a
> motto: "We have done so much with so little for so long, that now we can do anything with nothing."
> [End excerpt]
> 
> Below is a Vietnam-era match:
> 
> Date: July 4, 1971
> Newspaper: Detroit Free Press
> Newspaper Location: Detroit, Michigan
> Quote Page 11-A, Column 1
> Article: Bob Talbert's Detroit
> Database: Newspapers.com
> 
> [Begin excerpt]
> The current No. 1 status symbol in Vietnam among Marines is inscriptions on cigaret lighters, which everyone carries. It's sort of like
> personal "graffiti." Some read: "You and me, God. Right?"
> <<skip>>
> 
> Fighting for peace is like making love for virginity . . . Marines have done so much with so little for so long, that now we can do anything
> with nothing forever ... For those who fight for it, life and liberty have a flavor the protected never know.
> [End excerpt]
> 
> Earlier citations of other information welcome.
> 
> Garson
> 


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