The "State" in line 1 gets a lot of attention (first line, end word, capitalization). When reading "The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner," Jarrell wanted us to think about the power of the state, of nations. The poem, then, seems to get at the power that states have to send countries into war and the power they have over individuals, sending them into horrific battles and, often, certain death. Come on, states. Knock that off, will ya?
Despite the critique of "The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner," the job of the state is not to protect and nurture its citizens. A state's first priority is the survival of the state itself, even if that survival costs the lives of some of its citizens. Tough love, y'all.
As "The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner" suggests, the notion of the state as a nurturer and protector is fundamental. States should put the lives and well-being of their citizens first. Show us love!