Susan and Me and War

June 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

Recently I was fortunate to see the stage production “War Horse” based on the novel of the same name by Michael Morpurgo. I had seen Steven Spielberg’s film interpretation of the story earlier, but the stage drama brought the realities of the First World War closer to me than anything else I have experienced. Although the drama personalizes the effects of the War on British, French, and German citizens, I found myself recalling Susan’s reactions to America’s participation in that conflict.

In Chapter 14 of Susan Lawrence: The Enigma in the Wright House I quote from a letter which Susan sent to Anna Lloyd Jones Wright, Frank Lloyd Wright’s mother in 1917:

I am so wrought up over this dreadful war I can hardly settle myself to do anything. I am helping in every way that I possibly can, but it does not seem right for us to lend ourselves to wholesale murder. What good can possibly come to us in the sacrifice of the flower of the young manhood of the world? I can see none that will ever compensate for the loss.

Susan lived through three wars. She was born during the Civil War (1862), did her patriotic part in the First World War (see earlier post “State Fair Chips”), and died just after the close of the Second World War (1946). I was a child during the Second World War and have lived through Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. As I write this, our nation’s leaders are debating renewed involvement in Iraq. To me, Susan’s statement is as valid as it was 100 years ago. I must ask myself the same question she asked, “What good could possibly come to us?”

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