Memorial Day — Americans in Combat Learn That They’re Brothers

Remember, in combat, fellow Americans who find themselves political adversaries are brothers.

By now it’s an old cliché. Any movie about American fighting men has to include a collection of walking stereotypes. There’s the guy from Brooklyn with the crazy accent, the guy from Kentucky who’d never been outside his hillbilly town, and then there’s the Puerto Rican, the guy swearing at his buddies in Spanish. They come from all walks of life, would never associate together in the “real world,” and yet they end up tighter than brothers, ready to die so that their friends can live.

But here’s the thing — stereotypes are often grounded in a degree of reality. Spend time in the modern American military, and sometimes it feels as if a movie come to life. You do see people who’d never encounter one another, ever, in civilian circumstance — maybe even people who’d hate one another if they met any other way — bond together tighter than brothers. They do lay down their lives. They really are ready to die so that their friends can live.

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