The Worth of War
Living in the Midwest during 9/11, I can see the flags lined on the streets as mentioned by Wallace. There were flags in lawns, lined on the streets. Neighborhood associations purchased little flags and placed them in every yard. They were even taped to mailboxes. One home proudly displayed thousands of flags like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation with the Christmas lights, dotting every available space. “Some cars have them wedged in their grille or duct-taped to the antenna” (Wallace). A pick-up drives through the Walmart parking lot with large military size flags on poles secured to the back of the cab.
I lean to my young daughter, “Remember this day. It is a historical moment that you will be asked about for the rest of your life.” What does my now 24-year-old daughter recall? The flags. She sees the buildings falling over and over as she stared in shock at the reruns on the news with her family. She remembers being locked in her school.
What is the worth of war? Dickinson speaks of the torture of liberty, freedom and captivity. A price is paid to maintain these standards. Generations of my family have served. A proud military family with a serviceman in nearly every war.
Pride, Wallace claims is the reason for the waving of the flag. It is a social construct, is it not? The flag demonstrates the owner’s reverence to a nation. Pride in those who served. Pride in those who died. Pride on those who preserved the liberty the living continue to enjoy.
The dying soldiers drop “like flakes, they dropped like stars” (Dickinson). They don’t drop alone, though. They drop where “God on his repealless list can summon every face” (Dickinson). Why do they fall? For freedom. For liberty. For the small children locked in school for safety.
Dickinson, Emily. No Rack can Torture Me. Retrieved from https://www.bartleby.com/113/4035.html
Dickinson, Emily. Part Four Time and All Eternity. Retrieved from https://www.bartleby.com/113/4035.html
Wallace, David Foster. David Foster Wallace on 9/11, as Seen from the Midwest. Retrieved from https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/david-foster-wallace-on-9-11-as-seen-from-the-midwest-242422/