The Word Was War

June 30, 2010
We get the newspaper everyday here in my small town in the USA. Actually, our neighbors, who are the one of the sweetest elderly couples I’ve ever met, give theirs to us after they’re done; my family doesn’t have a subscription of our own.
Today, there was the monthly little newspaper designed specifically for kids deep inside the piles of Dear Abby and front page news. I used to be obsessed with it when I was in third grade, especially after I got my first piece of writing published in it. I had nothing to do, so I decided to go through it, admiring the sloppy poems and adorable little portraits of dinosaurs and farmhouses. On the back page was one of those obvious word search games. The theme was America, for the Fourth of July.
I scanned the list of words hidden in the puzzle and something caught my attention, and not for the better. Second column, seventh word down: the word was war.
Is this honestly what we’ve become, my country? A war driven land forcing battle and killing down the throats of America’s youth? I see these military based games designed for entertainment, these commercials immortalizing warriors as heroes, and now this tiny word, tucked away discreetly, right next to the word freedom.
It’s a subtle kind of brainwashing, it really is. And whoever the genius was who designed those National Guard videos to make us sit in awe and wish we could all wear the hyped up camouflage is truly a genius in their own right.
I don’t have anything against soldiers; I’m thankful they allowed me my own opinion. In fact, the lovely old couple who give us the newspaper have stakes in the military’s history themselves.
It’s whoever is telling these people that war is the way to go that I have a grudge against. It’s not the blind leading the blind like commonly believed; it’s the misjudged leading the misguided; the insane leading the ignorant.
My own older brother wants nothing more than to be in the Marines. Whenever he brings it up, I like to throw some discouraging remark his way, but he doesn’t listen to me. Why would he? I mean, think of the glory: an American hero, medals from victories and scars from near death experiences. Think of all the lives he’ll save, think of the freedom he’ll bring to his homeland.
But it’s not all medals and honor. There’s blood. And there’s killing; friends laying cold and pale on the ground, enemies screaming in agony. Missing legs and unseeing eyes; paralyzed and terrified.
It seems they forgot something when they air those commercials, interrupting our favorite movies and stupid reality shows: the nightmares that glory will bring.

Join the Discussion

This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

GeriskHer said...
Dec. 8, 2016 at 1:37 pm
if your brother did join the marine corps, do you know how many years he was thinking of serving?
sweet_silent_surenity said...
Jul. 8, 2010 at 8:35 pm

I like how you mentioned it was right next to freedom. Whether it really was or not, it was a nice touch. Your opinion is very strong, if not hidden a bit by the small intro, (also a nice touch). I agree that war is a desensitized subject, and yes, that the price of the glory often goes unmentioned, but everything that America has was fought for. For the right to govern ourselves, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Women's right to vote and to choose for ourselves who we... (more »)

HIPPIEatHEART_writerINsoul This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 8, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Thank you very much for your comment.

I understand completely what you mean; about the fighting for what we have, and I'm thankful for those who gave me freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc. I know you're right, but also believe that was the past. We need a new way to settle things and acquire freedom.

Thanks again. :)

(And "war" really was next to "freedom." :)

sweet_silent_surenity replied...
Jul. 8, 2010 at 8:51 pm

I agree with that too. I think that in the new age, with all these ways of communication we should also learn to communicate better. Not just as a family member or a friend, or a race, or class, or representative of our level on the food chain of popularity, but as a nation. As a country.

Site Feedback