The War PrayerThis week’s lesson had many readings dealing with SocialRealism. Work’s from Robert Frost,Charlottte Perkins, and Mark Twain told stories of what they felt about themany social issues they were seeing during their time. Topics included the suffering of woman tosomething as simple as simple as changing the way people think about certainideas or beliefs. Mark Twains the “TheWar Prayer pointed out the countries patriotism during times of conflict andthat having to much of this patriotism could lead to a road that us as a peopleshould be careful not to go down.I joined the United States Air Force in 1999. When I joined there was no war going on andhonestly, I didn’t think about going to war.
I was young and naïve and just wanted to get away from home. Two years after I joined the we were attackedand went to War. After the attacksAmerica was very similar to what Mark Twain described in “The War Prayer” I hadnever seen so much patriotism after the attack on our country. “on every hand and far down receding andfading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashedin the sun.” Like it was described inThe War Prayer is what we saw in every town in America. Flags lined the street of every neighborhoodand they were displayed proudly on every business as well. Young men and women were volunteering to goto war not truly knowing what was entailed.
I was even told that there was waiting lists for people to join after9/11. I can’t recall at any point inhistory that people couldn’t join the armed services that wanted too. Not all people agreed with going to war andjust as it was described in Mark Twain’s short story they were shunned andconsidered to be un-patriotic. Today notonly does this happen with the subject of war but also when it comes to ourcurrent commander and chief. Those whovoted him into office are very adamant that anyone that doesn’t agree with himshould pack up and leave.
Though notentire similar to what Mark Twain was describing they still go hand inhand. Even though there is nothing wrongwith being patriotic people do take the idea to the extreme very often.The actual prayer that was said during “The War Prayer” iswhere Mark Twain described the over patriotic people and how they felt about goingto war. The prayer that was spokendescribes the enemy being torn to shreds and hopes for ultimate pain andsuffering for anyone that opposed our forces. It also went as far a wishing suffering on the widows of those fallenand wished horrible things towards their orphaned children.
This is where patriotism turn into evil andcruelty. When involved in a war bothsides are fighting for what they seem is right. Most times it’s pretty cut and dry what side is fighting for a justcause. What we as a people need toremember is that these soldiers have families back home just as our soldiersdo. War isn’t about making the otherside suffer just for the sake of it. Waris to complete and objective the fastest way possible without any un-necessarysuffering. Just because our enemies maybe cruel and do horrible things, we must show compassion wheneverpossible. We do this by help rebuildingwar torn cities, building new schools, and assisting to build a newgovernment.
There is nothing wrong withbeing patriotic but we must not allow ourselves go to the extreme andcompromise the values this great nation was built upon.Mark Twain’s “The War Prayer” was a very good read. I feel that more people should read it andthey could learn a few important lessons. Patriotism is what founded the country that we live in today. We must be very careful not to cross thatthin red line between patriotism and extremism. Once we do, it is very hard to come back from if even we can at all.