Duke Southard

Author, Educator, Lecturer

Only Dead Men Can Tell The Truth!

The title of this blog is a portion of Mark Twain’s response when asked if his “The War Prayer” could be published. The powerful prayer, actually a poem, evokes images of war that are so provocative that when he read it to his daughter, Jean, she said that he must not print it, for it would be regarded as sacrilege.

His friend, Dan Beard, questioned him. “Still, you are going to publish it, are you not?”

“No,” Twain replied. “I have told the whole truth in that, and only dead men can tell the truth in this world. It can be published after I am dead.” It was.

After reading this comment again, I wondered if there could be a lesson learned here in connection with the struggle that some people have when questioned about the Stacey Burns murder. If a writer of Twain’s stature was worried about telling the “whole truth,” one can perhaps sympathize with those worried about having the “whole truth” about her murder revealed. (Or not!)

It was thirteen years after Mark Twain’s death that the “The War Prayer” was published. Hopefully, we won’t still be waiting for the whole truth in the Stacey Burns case thirteen years after her death.


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I'm Duke Southard, author, educator, and lecturer.

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