Veterans turned poets can help bridge divides

(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.) James Dubinsky, Virginia Tech (THE CONVERSATION) Although Veterans Day is a national holiday, often filled with parades and celebrations, it brings with it ambiguity. Howard Zinn, a World War II veteran, once wrote, “I do not want the recognition of my service to be used as a glorification of war.” Sometimes the cost of the service and sacrifice can temper any desire to celebrate. Just consider the fact that even on the original Armistice Day, almost 2,700 Allied and German soldiers died in combat. Ambiguity is also the result of the growing gulf between those who have served and those who haven’t. At any given time, only .04 percent of the U.S. population is serving on active duty. In The Economist, a columnist recently explained, “The gulf between America’s armed forces and its civilians has never been greater. In 1990, 40 percent of young Americans had a military veteran for a parent; in 2016, only 16 percent did.” Sometimes the ambiguity lies within the veteran community, and sometimes within individual veterans. Veterans’ experiences are not uniform. Some have seen combat; many have not. […]

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