Veterans Day is tomorrow. I have two readings to recommend.
The first frustrates me so bad I can't say anything rational about it. Read it for yourself.
The second is nostalgic but excellent. It appeals to my pacifist sensibilities at a deep level.
Stories come from unexpected places. This one emerged from a war resigned to memory but revived by a personal favor I wanted to do for some soldiers.
In the fall of 2011, I decided to write an account of the battle at As Samawah, Iraq, during the invasion of 2003. I was one of the embedded reporters during that invasion, working for The Oregonian newspaper in Portland and attached to the 2nd Combat Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division. Contemporary histories had skipped over the week of fighting in that city, as most people then and now misunderstood its significance. I wanted to honor the soldiers I had known there with the story of what they endured.
As my reporting went forward, my historical writing morphed into a return to journalism as I realized the magnitude of the problem. Historians within and without the U.S. Army told me repeatedly that the missing records problem extended far beyond one soldier. In fact, they said, it covered two wars and entire Army brigades.
I came across this man's memorable recollectios several years ago and drag it out when I think of it on Memorial Day or Veterans Day. My version at the old blog is better formatted and easier to read, but the link above has a long comments thread with far more in the way of solid content.