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Honor and Sacrifice

Awarding the Medal of Honor to Iraq War Servicemembers

The President of the United States has awarded 3,471 Medals of Honor since the award’s inception in 1861, recognizing soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines for risking their life above the call of duty. James Roberts, writing in the Wall Street Journal, laments the fact that not a single living service member has received the Medal of Honor from service in the Iraq War, and provides a remarkable example of valor deserving of recognition.

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Honoring our Veterans through “Taps”

The iconic military hymn “Taps” has been a hallmark of American military funerals since 1891. Tom Day, founder of the organization Bugles Across America, strives to ensure that that tradition, and the veterans who died in America’s service, are not forgotten. In a new article in the Weekly Standard, the great Matt Labash describes Day’s lifelong commitment to honoring veterans.

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Allen Guelzo on Gettysburg

Historian Allen Guelzo has a powerful essay on the meaning of Gettysburg in the Wall Street Journal today.

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The Legacy of Gettysburg

On Wednesday, in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg, Allen Guelzo delivered a keynote speech at AEI about the three-day battle’s importance in American history.

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Improving Veterans’ Mental Health Services

In response to grave concerns over veterans’ access to adequate mental health services, the Veterans Affairs Department announced that they will expand their mental health services, starting immediately. This announcement comes after President Obama’s remarks at the National Conference on Mental Health on Monday. “Today, we lose 22 veterans a day to suicide — 22. We’ve got to do a better job … of preventing these all-too-often silent tragedies.”

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Gettysburg at 150

In time for the upcoming 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg, our AEI colleague Tom Donnelly reviews historian Allan Guelzo’s new book, Gettysburg: The Last Invasion.

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The Real Gap in Civil-Military Relations

Our AEI colleague Tom Donnelly has a terrific post at the Weekly Standard about the civil-military gap. Reacting to a recent quote from Tom Brokaw which laments the gap and casts Iraq and Afghanistan veterans as “victims,” Donnelly notes that “if there is a ‘gap’ in American civil-military relations, it is not because so few serve, it is because so few care to understand our military on its own terms.”

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Remembering Memorial Day

Our friends at What So Proudly We Hail are remembering Memorial Day with a new ebook of stories, speeches, and songs—featuring classic American writers and great American statesmen.

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Clinton Romesha awarded Congressional Medal of Honor

Yesterday, President Barack Obama awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor to Clinton Romesha, a 31-year-old retired staff sergeant in the US Army. In October 2009, Romesha helped to defend Combat Outpost Keating in northeast Afghanistan against an attack by more than 300 Taliban fighters. Before the somber ceremony began in the East Room of the White House, Romesha’s young son, Colin, provided pre-program entertainment for those in attendance.

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Remembering a day of infamy

At 7:55 am on December 7, 1941, the Japanese began their attack on Pearl Harbor, killing 2,390 Americans over the course of the two-hour attack. The next day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, declaring December 7 a “date which will live in infamy,” asked Congress to declare war on Japan. World War II had officially begun for the United States.

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Learning in Mr. Clark’s class


Every year, students in Tom Clarke’s high school history class at Lake Central High School in St. John, Indiana, embark upon a research project to track down the families of the state’s battle casualties and learn more about those who died in service to their country. And for each of the 27 years that the project has been assigned, both students and the families they interact with come away moved by the experience.

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What the troops leave unsaid: a growing civil-military divide

Over at the “At War” blog of The New York Times, Jonathan Raab, a sergeant in the New York National Guard currently serving in Kuwait, reminds us of the hardships many veterans face when they return home from war–and the responsibility we have to engage them in thoughtful conversation about their concerns.

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Blind Army captain serves Gonzaga’s ROTC


In April of 2005, while serving as an infantry officer, Army Captain Scott Smiley was injured when a car bomb exploded while he was patrolling the city of Mosul, Iraq. The blast left him temporarily paralyzed on his right side and permanently blind.

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One wounded warrior’s story

Over on his photography blog, Tim Dodd has a moving series of posts about his friend Taylor Morris, who was injured in Afghanistan in May of this year. Working as part of an explosive ordinance disposal team, Morris stepped on an IED, losing both of his legs, his left arm, and his right hand.

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Remembering 9/11

This morning, President Barack Obama and his wife laid a wreath at the Pentagon as part of an official observance remembering the events of September 11, 2011. The president also spoke to the families and friends of the victims, remarking that “eleven times we have marked another September 11th come and gone. Eleven times, we have paused in remembrance, in reflection, in unity and in purpose. This is never an easy day.  But it is especially difficult for all of you–the families of nearly 3,000 innocents who lost their lives–your mothers and fathers, your husbands and wives, your sons and your daughters. They were taken from us suddenly and far too soon.”

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The power of a name

At our public panel discussion in May on “Monumental fights,” we considered the important role played by public memorials in civic life. Now, writing over at City Journal, Allan Greenberg, a former professor of architecture at Yale and the author of Architecture of Democracy, provides his thoughts on the civic role played by one memorial in particular: the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which turns thirty in November.

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Mid-week roundup

What’s happening in the citizenship world? Here’s our mid-week roundup:

  • World War II veteran Raymond Smith, age 92, finally received his high school diploma
  •  Last week, the United States military reached 2,000 dead in the Afghanistan conflict.
  •  In July, Gary Gutting, a professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, posed the question: Is patriotism moral?
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    “We like to leave that situation better than we we got there…”

    Writing earlier this week in the U-T San Diego newspaper, Lisa Deaderick profiles the journey of an inspiring Marine at the University of San Diego. Gunnery Sgt. Gabriel Adibe enlisted in the Marine Corps in June of 2001 out of a desire to serve his country, and he saw the Marines as a group that can make a difference: “When we go into a situation, we like to leave that situation better than we we got there.” After serving as a logistician in the Marines–where he has been deployed to both Indonesia and Afghanistan—in 2009, as part of the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program, Adibe started attending the University of San Diego, where he participates in ROTC.

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    Of war and healing waters

    In the Washington Examiner, James Carafano, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, recently wrote about the “sea of goodwill”–as the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen put it–of the thousands of organizations that seek to help war veterans transition into civilian life upon their return home.

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    Celebrating the Fourth of July

    As we prepare to celebrate Independence Day  tomorrow, check out this great video that AEI videographer Sara Barger made to celebrate last year’s Fourth, in which she headed to the National Mall to find out how Americans are celebrating the holiday and why they are proud to be an American.

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