October 21, 2002
As a tongue-tied moronic puppet drags us into a war of conquest, many
people think of Mark Twain's War Prayer. It's been printed and reprinted,
here and everywhere, because it is still so depressingly timely.
Timely, yes, but it needs a bit of tweaking to take into account methods of warfare that weren't available to the war lovers in the early 1900s when Twain penned his classic.
You all remember the setup: a church service that seeks to bring God's blessing on those going forth into battle. "Then came the 'long' prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was, that an evermerciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers, and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in the day of battle and the hour of peril, bear them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory."
At this point, an aged stranger enters the church, nudges the preacher aside, proclaims that he comes "from the throne — bearing a message from Almighty God" and begins his own prayer, one that incorporates the unvoiced part of the preacher's prayer. Here is an updated version for the new millennium.
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Related Internal Links
The War Prayer - by Mark Twain
Iraq on Swans
Deck Deckert has spent nearly two decades as copy editor, wire editor and news editor at several metropolitan newspapers, including the Miami Herald and Miami News, before becoming a freelance writer. His articles and stories on everything from alligator farming to UFOs have appeared in numerous U.S. publications. He has written two young adult novels under a pen name, and co-authored a novel about the NATO war on Yugoslavia, Letters from the Fire, with Alma Hromic.
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Essays published in 2002 | 2001