As per usual, the outrage expressed over the comments made by Chris Hayes are either phony or directed at the wrong offenders of decency and common sense. Mr. Hayes should have been smart enough to know that you don't criticize Veterans--you criticize the chickenhawks who hide behind Veterans and try to justify more wars. Many of the critics who are condemning Hayes are the same chickenhawks who wouldn't serve then and won't serve now.
I'm not the least bit offended by what he had to say. But, every Memorial Day, I think it is important to recognize the fact that the modern chickenhawk has had a great deal to do with our broken discourse and our inability to understand that what happened in Iraq was antithetical to the American experience. We were taken to war by cheerleaders, and their lack of accountability for that is the really appalling thing here.
I don't do much with Memorial Day. Don't thank me for my service; go and serve yourself. I did virtually nothing memorable or worthwhile in uniform, and I don't trade on that in order to get free drinks or to get into the VFW or the American Legion.
No one in my family has ever joined either of those two organizations. My grandfather certainly never had anything to do with those people. He was a veteran of Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, Operation Varsity, and the liberation of Europe. He wore the combat medic badge. He didn't want anything to do with remembering the war; he celebrated his time spent in the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s and I still have the newsletters he saved from that era. The men who sat in the American Legion and boasted about their war exploits were usually truck drivers who once drank too much and had a fender bender racing across France.
Genuine heroes don't boast about anything, and they do not want to be thought of as anything but lucky to be alive.