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    The War Prayer

    The War Prayer
    by Mark Twain

    It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and spluttering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid eloquence which moved every listener. It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety's sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.

    Sunday morning came -- next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their young faces alight with martial dreams -- visions of the stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! Then home from the war, bronzed heroes, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag, or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation


    *God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest! Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!*

    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 ever-merciful 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 --

    An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher's side and stood there waiting. With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued with his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal, "Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!"



    .....

  2. #2
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    Re: The War Prayer

    The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside -- which the startled minister did -- and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes, in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said:

    "I come from the Throne -- bearing a message from Almighty God!" The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. "He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd, and will grant it if such shall be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import -- that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of -- except he pause and think.

    "God's servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two -- one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of Him Who heareth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this -- keep it in mind. If you would beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor's crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.

    "You have heard your servant's prayer -- the uttered part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it -- that part which the pastor -- and also you in your hearts -- fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. the *whole* of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory--*must* follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

    "O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.


    (*After a pause.*) "Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits!"

    It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.




    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Twain apparently dictated it around 1904-05; it was rejected by his publisher, and was found after his death among his unpublished manuscripts. It was first published in 1923 in Albert Bigelow Paine's anthology, Europe and Elsewhere.
    The story is in response to a particular war, namely the Philippine-American War of 1899-1902, which Twain opposed.



    .
    Last edited by sojustask; 05-28-2007 at 05:05 AM.

  3. #3
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    Re: The War Prayer

    Number Of Iraqi Civilians Slaughtered In America's War On Iraq -
    At Least 655,000 + +

    http://tinyurl.com/usq4x

    Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In America'sWar On Iraq 3,454
    http://icasualties.org/oif/

    The War in Iraq Costs
    $429,358,512,975

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    Re: The War Prayer

    Quote Originally Posted by sojustask
    Number Of Iraqi Civilians Slaughtered In America's War On Iraq -
    At Least 655,000 + +

    http://tinyurl.com/usq4x

    Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In America'sWar On Iraq 3,454
    http://icasualties.org/oif/

    The War in Iraq Costs
    $429,358,512,975
    Lady Mod, what you posted is disturbing and you did not even touch on the number of people injured and maimed. As Memorial Day approaches, I have been pondering the death of all these people and trying to make some sense of it all, hoping to find something, anything that would in someway justify their sacrifice.

    I chose to believe that their sacrifice has saved the lives of countless of thousands of others. Had this invasion been the sudden, quick and easy victory that the neoconservatives had envisioned, then perhaps we would be sitting here today honoring the countless sacrifices of the even greater number that would dying in yet another war against Iran or North Korea. As it is, the sacrifice of those in Iraq has shown the world the fallacy of the philosophy and agenda of the neoconservative movement.

    Peace V.

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    Re: The War Prayer

    You cowards pray and place blame all you want , but the bottom line is President George W Bush , with the backing of congress , disarmed and brought to justice Saddam Hussein and the lives of the soldiers killed in Iraq were not wasted , they died securing our freedom

    You don't deserve to be citizens of my country
    Originally posted by Americanadian
    Palin: Omit the "i" and you're left with "Pain".

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    Re: The War Prayer

    Quote Originally Posted by franKg
    You cowards pray and place blame all you want , but the bottom line is President George W Bush , with the backing of congress , disarmed and brought to justice Saddam Hussein and the lives of the soldiers killed in Iraq were not wasted , they died securing our freedom

    You don't deserve to be citizens of my country
    Big talk, little man.

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    Re: The War Prayer

    Quote Originally Posted by ianmatthews
    Big talk, little man.

    Threatening posters is not the way to become a moderator Ian
    Originally posted by Americanadian
    Palin: Omit the "i" and you're left with "Pain".

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    Re: The War Prayer

    Quote Originally Posted by franKg
    Threatening posters is not the way to become a moderator Ian
    I'm calling you out like I see you, where's the threat? Quit being a baby.

    Who's trying to become a moderator? I either ask or don't ask, I haven't asked.

  9. #9
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    Re: The War Prayer

    Quote Originally Posted by franKg
    You cowards pray and place blame all you want , but the bottom line is President George W Bush , with the backing of congress , disarmed and brought to justice Saddam Hussein and the lives of the soldiers killed in Iraq were not wasted , they died securing our freedom

    You don't deserve to be citizens of my country
    They died for the cynical lies of war profiteers and the delusional ignorance of pond scum like you Frankie. It had nothing to do with anybody's freedom, especially ours.

    Too bad Samuel Clemens himself couldn't be around to receive your little critique' on the worthiness of his citizenship. He surely would have taken the remark as a true complement coming from the likes of you.
    Last edited by dchristie; 05-28-2007 at 07:40 AM.
    "The best case against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter"
    -- Winston Churchill

  10. #10
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    Re: The War Prayer

    Quote Originally Posted by franKg
    ......they died securing our freedom
    Our FREEDOM has never been threatened by anyone on the planet except our own government. The Bush Administration in particular.

    You don't deserve to be citizens of my country
    I don't know anyone who wants to live in your "fantasy country". Deserving or not. YOUR country (whatever plane it's on) does not exist except in your imagination.


    Lady Mod

  11. #11
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    Re: The War Prayer

    Quote Originally Posted by franKg
    Threatening posters is not the way to become a moderator Ian

    LOL, just exactly where's the threat? I've said far worse to you than Ian's comment.


    .

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    Re: The War Prayer

    Quote Originally Posted by sojustask
    The War Prayer
    by Mark Twain

    It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and spluttering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid eloquence which moved every listener. It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety's sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.

    Sunday morning came -- next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their young faces alight with martial dreams -- visions of the stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! Then home from the war, bronzed heroes, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag, or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation


    *God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest! Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!*

    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 ever-merciful 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 --

    An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher's side and stood there waiting. With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued with his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal, "Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!"



    .....
    OMFG what a boring yarn

    I tried to read it Ladymod but I kept falling asleep but as Crusty mentioned ,if Samuel Clemens had been alive on 9/11 and witnessed the power of our enemies we face today no doubt he'd be telling a completely different story

    Sorry but you just can't relate anything Samuel Clemens said to the war on terror, the guy's dead !!
    Originally posted by Americanadian
    Palin: Omit the "i" and you're left with "Pain".

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    Re: The War Prayer

    When all else fails, summon the heavy-handed power of 9/11 to bludgeon your political opponents. Apparently it solves everything.

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    Re: The War Prayer

    Quote Originally Posted by franKg
    OMFG what a boring yarn

    I tried to read it Ladymod but I kept falling asleep but as Crusty mentioned ,if Samuel Clemens had been alive on 9/11 and witnessed the power of our enemies we face today no doubt he'd be telling a completely different story

    Sorry but you just can't relate anything Samuel Clemens said to the war on terror, the guy's dead !!

    The Power of our enemies displayed on 9/11?

    What power would that be Frankie? They hijacked planes and ran them into buildings. No nuclear weapons, no bombs going off, no bacterial warfare, no weapons of mass destruction. The hijackers trained in our own country, some here legally and just took over with a few guns.

    They hijacked our very own jetliners and crashed them into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and a field. All while Bush read stories to grade school children in the state his little brother governed.


    Samuel Clemens would be saying how utterly inept the current administration has been running this country, much less keeping it safe.

    LOL, like I've said before frankie, you aren't the brightest crayon in the box. :D


    Lady Mod
    Last edited by sojustask; 05-28-2007 at 07:46 AM.

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    Re: The War Prayer

    Quote Originally Posted by franKg
    You cowards pray and place blame all you want , but the bottom line is President George W Bush , with the backing of congress , disarmed and brought to justice Saddam Hussein and the lives of the soldiers killed in Iraq were not wasted , they died securing our freedom

    You don't deserve to be citizens of my country

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    Re: The War Prayer

    Bill Maher: I wouldn't call the attackers of 9/11 terrorists, I would call them "muslim fundamentalists" and I think we should find out why they hate us
    It never ceases to amaze me just how afraid liberals are of our enemies.
    ,
    Ron Paul :"They attacked us because we're over there"
    Is he referring to the first gulf war , when Saddam invaded Kuwait , and Saudi Arabia begged George Bush , rather than Osama Bin Ladin , to protect them from invasion and drive out Saddam

    THEY ASKED US TO PROTECT THEM , Ron Paul is the one who needs to brush up on his history

    Ron Paul : We should spread the goodness of America by making sure our own civil liberties are protected
    Yea, I'm sure that'll make a lot of Al-Queda want be our friends
    Originally posted by Americanadian
    Palin: Omit the "i" and you're left with "Pain".

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