Mark Twain: Oh Lord our God, help us tear their soldiers to bloody shreds

“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.


-from Mark Twain’s The War Prayer

1 thought on “Mark Twain: Oh Lord our God, help us tear their soldiers to bloody shreds

  1. Echoed in a pale mirror image by “Mad” Mel Gibson at the start of a VietNam Propaganda Film called “We Were Soldiers” where the High-Ranking Air-Cavalry Officer portrayed by Mr Gibson says, in a prayer at the Chapel “Lord, many of the enemy are also asking You for victory tomorrow, and Your protection, I know this. but Lord, just don’t listen to them” I didn’t watch the rest of the film.

    I like the Mark Twain one better. The Gibson one, actually recorded by the officer (who survived where the others hadn’t) in his memoirs, is meant to be glib, clever… witty dismissal of what they were about to do and, with his memoirs and the movie to propagandize the “sacrifice and glory” part of joining the Army, traveling to exotic nations, meet interesting people and killing them”.

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