America moral, and societal statuses to bring them

America can be seen as a culture of warriors from the outside, but if someone dives deep into the heart of the average citizen they would be surprised at what they find. When Anglo-Saxons fought for control of Northern Europe, they not only depended on their strength, but their mental, moral, and societal statuses to bring them victory in battle. Translated by Kevin Crossley-Holland, the epic poem of Beowulf exemplifies the traits of a true warrior. Although it seems that Americans are warriors, many of them do not have what it takes to be a true warrior. Past generations of Americans have been rich with men and women who were brave, loyal, and glorious. In present-day, Americans tend to cower at the first sign of danger, turn on their friends, and chase money and riches over praise from their fellow citizens. The betterment of America lies within the people who teach the next generation. If it is taught that all citizens must carry themselves as warriors, a strong and prosperous nation triumph. But it is the sad truth that modern Americans have not, and most likely will not, reach that point. Modern American society does not resemble a warrior culture because warrior-like traits such as bravery, loyalty, and gloriousness are not valued as highly as during Anglo-Saxon times.During the times when Anglo-Saxons inhabited Northern Europe, every warrior was expected to fight with the highest form of bravery. It was this bravery that strengthened armies and expanded empires. Without bravery, a warrior loses the ability to fight with an iron will and to never give up. When Beowulf volunteers to fight Grendel’s mother and free Daneland from the clutches of evil, he not only depends on his strength but also his overwhelming confidence in himself. In episode one, “Beowulf donned his coat of mail, did not fear for his own life” (1135-1137). This specific example shows Beowulf’s bravery, even though it is labeled as fearlessness. Anglo-Saxons not only revered strength but also a warrior’s willingness to put his life on the line to do what he believed was right. In contrast to this Anglo-Saxon belief, current American society does not look upon bravery as such a great virtue. Throughout the years that America has been a country, bravery has slowly faded out of everyday life. When the founding fathers risked it all, many of them the same age as today’s millennials, they did not fear for their lives–they were brave. Christine Lejeune, a journalist for the Philadelphia Magazine, states, “The troublesome part of this is that so many of us seem unable or unwilling nowadays to accept fear as part of being alive in tumultuous times” (Lejeune). The times that we, as a culture, live in have made it easy for people to get by without taking risks. Unlike the founders of America, modern society requires fewer actions of bravery by people who want to accomplish a dangerous task. It is a fallacy to broadcast that America still is the “home of the brave” when, truthfully, America was the “home of the brave.” In addition, most Americans are not willing to take a chance, they would rather give up or wait for someone else to do what they are called to do. In comparison to the Anglo-Saxons, bravery is not as important to present-day Americans. Not only does this weaken American society, but it makes it difficult to describe it as a warrior culture.Within every Anglo-Saxon warrior lies a deep sense of loyalty. Whether it is loyalty to his king, his homeland, or his family, he fights for something greater than himself. Loyalty is one of the most important virtues of a true warrior. Even in the heat of battle when everything seems to be working against him, he will not turn his back on the ones to whom he has sworn a solemn oath. Beowulf is a man of great loyalty; it guides every step he takes from his first to his last. When Beowulf speaks to Wealhtheow he says, “I resolved to fulfill the desire of your people, or suffer the pangs of death. . . I shall either work a deed of great daring, or lay down my life” (551-552, 554-555). With these words, Beowulf promises that he will sacrifice his own life in order to save Hrothgar’s kingdom. Beowulf’s level of loyalty extends past his homeland of Geatland; he is not sacrificing his life for his king, but for another king and another kingdom. In modern times, specifically in the United States, loyalty to one’s country, family, or friends has become less important. When it is convenient, people will switch to whatever they might think will benefit them more. A major example of disloyalty in America is the actions of many citizens leading up to the 2016 presidential election. Many celebrities said that they would move to Canada if Trump won. Rebecca Kuhn, an alumni of Elon University, shares her opinion on the subject of loyalty to one’s country; “We are loyal to the United States because we are citizens of the United States. While this country may make mistakes or decisions we do not agree with, that does not mean that we pledge our allegiance elsewhere” (Rebecca Kuhn). She brings up the idea that citizens of America must be loyal, even if they disagree with the leader(s) of the country. The celebrities who vowed they would move to Canada not only showed disloyalty to the country which has allowed them to prosper, but to the (future) president. In the past generations, this has not been such a large issue, but selfishness drives many Americans today. If every American was loyal to their beliefs, their country, and their family, no matter the circumstances, a warrior culture would prevail.                                                                                                      It has been said, through the ages, that money is the root of all evil. When glory withdraws from the mind of a warrior and money takes its place, this timeless statement can be true. Most warriors during Anglo-Saxon times did want money and riches, but it was not the sole purpose for their fight. To be glorified by a king and fellow warriors was one of the greatest forms of respect. Beowulf knows that he will be rewarded with treasures, but that is not what he is after. In his final statement before he falls asleep Beowulf says, “we, this night, shall forego the use of weapons. . . and then may wise God, the holy Lord, give glory in battle to whichever of us He should think fitting” (594-595, 596-598). Foregoing the use of weapons will display Beowulf’s great strength and bravery. Not only will Beowulf’s triumph over Grendel without a weapon bring him gifts, but it will bring him glory in the eyes of God, Hrothgar, and most importantly Hygelac. Glory is the sole reason many Anglo-Saxon’s fought in such ways, because glory brings respect, and respect is more valuable than silver or gold. In modern American society, people value money more than glory and respect. There is always a reason driving their ambitions, very rarely is glory the reason. Times have also changed, someone who seeks glory is often seen as selfish. Compared to Anglo-Saxon times, this is a drastic change as seeking glory was looked highly upon rather than shunned. A true warrior always strives for glory, a characteristic which has been slowly worked out of modern American society. Of the many diverse and prosperous cultures that have existed in the world, America stands out. It is often spoken of as a country of dreams. The most prominent traits that Beowulf portrays in the epic poem Beowulf are bravery, loyalty, and gloriousness. Because Beowulf is seen as a true warrior, his attributes must be prevalent in a nation that is to be described as a nation of warriors. In modern American society, these virtues have vanished from the people’s way of thinking. The only thing that is holding America back from being a warrior culture, are those who fear failure. The time has come that the United States return to its former glory, as a country of brave and loyal citizens. When the people of this country realize this and decide that there is something bigger than themselves, something greater to achieve, America will truly be a warrior culture.