War is Kind

On days like today I remember the poem War is Kind by Stephen Crane. He does a excellent job juxtaposing the horrible images of war with the glory that is perceived during battle.

Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind.

Because your lover threw wild hands toward the sky
And the affrighted steed ran on alone,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Hoarse, booming drums of the regiment
Little souls who thirst for fight,
These men were born to drill and die
The unexplained glory flies above them
Great is the battle-god, great, and his kingdom--
A field where a thousand corpses lie.

Do not weep, babe, for war is kind.
Because your father tumbled in the yellow trenches,
Raged at his breast, gulped and died,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Swift, blazing flag of the regiment
Eagle with crest of red and gold,
These men were born to drill and die
Point for them the virtue of slaughter
Make plain to them the excellence of killing
And a field where a thousand corpses lie.

Mother whose heart hung humble as a button
On the bright splendid shroud of your son,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

I was watching a program on WWII and the veterans who served. Some of the men and women were real heroes – they put their lives in harms way to ensure that others would have a better change. One thing they all had in common, when asked about being a hero, here was their response:

I’m no hero, but I served with people who are.

I think it is this selflessness, the willingness to put oneself in a bad situtation for the betterment of others that is one of our better qualities.

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