Memorial Day MSNBC Epic Fail: Our Fallen Heroes Evidently Aren't Heroes [Reader Post]


I come from a family with a proud military history. My father was a Leatherneck in WWII, seeing heavy action in the South Pacific. He was in the invasion of Okinawa and stood awestruck one August morning when he saw that mushroom cloud over Hiroshima. My younger brother also served his country in the First Gulf War in the Navy, ultimately deciding to become a family man rather than take the PST to qualify for the Navy Seals after he was approached by his CO.

Memorial Day and Veteran's Day mean a lot to me, personally and of course as an American. This is why what I heard on MSNBC really floored me. On a show called Up with Chris Hayes they had a panel discussion about why it isn't proper to use the term 'Heroes' when talking about our fallen military personnel.

I feel uncomfortable about the word ‘hero’ because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war. Um, and, I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism, you know, hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers, and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I’m wrong about that…


The left never will get it, I'm afraid.

It isn't HOW these folks died, it is WHY they wear the uniform in the first place. Anyone who dons that uniform and puts their life on the line qualifies as heroic in my book. But putting that aside, the mere fact that our brave military sons and daughters; husbands and wives; fathers and mothers have made the ultimate sacrifice by dying in combat for their country, well THAT is what makes them HEROES.

Birthdays, Christmases, Thanksgivings, Graduations and myriad countless other days and nights will pass without someone being there, ever. There are families all across our country that have to pick up the pieces and go on with their lives, trying to pacify a child who keeps asking for Daddy or Mommy and doesn't understand why they aren't there anymore. Parents must continue to deal with the fact that their child who they raised and nurtured and instilled values in so that they could be a contributing member of society will never have that chance to become one. Husbands and wives who forever will have an empty place where their loved one once was know the sacrifice made, for they pay the freight each and every day on that sacrifice.

No, the left just doesn't understand. They abhor war of all kinds, and actually any sane person should. War is hell. It is fiery and violent and devastating and horrible, and it exacts a price on all who have to endure it; but more so on the ones who don't survive it. The change it brings about, good and bad, intentional and collateral is permanent. It shouldn't be celebrated, but the sacrifice made by those who volunteer to fight for America ought to be honored.

Taking the word 'Heroes' out of the equation does such a disservice to those who have earned that title, that no amount of words I can write can do justice to what MSNBC has done.

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Noone loves war but if it wasn’t for these HEROS we might not be living in our free world….It’s a good think that we don’t depend on people like him to protect us because they would be the first to run the other way but they sure like what the HEROS give up for them…..

Thank you Don, this was an excellent piece on this special day.

Unfortunately Chris is rectally proximate to all appeaser types who would gladly sell their family into bondage rather than suffer a nosebleed. He is of the kind who die from shrapnel wounds to the BACK while the real HEROS fall on a grenade to defend their rhetorical finesses as they sit in the safety of their virtual world. I spent all day thanking as many HEROS as I could and I thank any who may come upon this comment. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE ! YOU WILL ALWAYS BE A HERO TO ME!

@Skook: Thank you Skook. I just couldn’t let what was said by MSNBC go unanswered.

Don’t worry, I don’t suffer any delusions that they will even know that I wrote this, much less that I rebutted them. I take my pleasure in the knowledge that more people view airport radar and sonograms than watch MSNBC…

@anticsrocks: I meant to say:

Don’t worry, I don’t suffer any delusions that they will know that I wrote this, much less even care that I rebutted them.


Chris Hayes Apologizes to Soldiers

On Sunday, in discussing the uses of the word “hero” to describe those members of the armed forces who have given their lives, I don’t think I lived up to the standards of rigor, respect and empathy for those affected by the issues we discuss that I’ve set for myself. I am deeply sorry for that.

As many have rightly pointed out, it’s very easy for me, a TV host, to opine about the people who fight our wars, having never dodged a bullet or guarded a post or walked a mile in their boots. Of course, that is true of the overwhelming majority of our nation’s citizens as a whole. One of the points made during Sunday’s show was just how removed most Americans are from the wars we fight, how small a percentage of our population is asked to shoulder the entire burden and how easy it becomes to never read the names of those who are wounded and fight and die, to not ask questions about the direction of our strategy in Afghanistan, and to assuage our own collective guilt about this disconnect with a pro-forma ritual that we observe briefly before returning to our barbecues.

But in seeking to discuss the civilian-military divide and the social distance between those who fight and those who don’t, I ended up reinforcing it, conforming to a stereotype of a removed pundit whose views are not anchored in the very real and very wrenching experience of this long decade of war. And for that I am truly sorry.

I have read this apology several times. To me, it would seem that Mr. Hayes is genuine in his apology and seems remorseful that he denigrated and took for granted what our brave military go through each and every day over there.

If I were Mr. Hayes, or someone close enough to him that could give him advice, I would present the idea to him that he could take this experience and put it to some good. Rather than just pulling his foot out of his mouth and throwing out a mea culpa, he might better be served by embedding with some troops. He could get first hand information to the kind of fiery and violent and devastating and horrible thing war is. I think it might make him a better reporter and it would surely give him a new, better perspective of our Military. Then he could better be able to discuss the use of the word ‘Heroes’ when speaking of our Fallen Heroes.

Here’s to hoping that somebody who knows him reads this and shows it to him.

One of the things that liberals fail to understand is that true heroes do not consider themselves. Heroes, they just do what they think is the right things. The medic who falls on a grenade does it to protect the wounded who are in his/her charge. They do things that to them seem right. A friend of mine has 4 children who were all in Iraq or Afghanistan at the same time. The youngest daughter was a medic. During a firefight after an IED attack on her convoy, she laid across one of the wounded protecting him from gun fire. The wounded soldier eventually died.
This young lady chose to escort the remains back to FT Bragg. Her mother met her there and found this young lady had suffered gunshot wounds protecting those in her charge. She never said a word to her mother or her family. Heroes do not do heroic things. Ordinary people do heroic things because of necessity.
If given a list of posthumous medal citations, most liberals would not or could not believe that what these military members was heroic. They died doing something that most likely didn’t make a difference. Somewhere, love of country and self sacrifice weighs heavy. Everyone who puts themselves in danger for the sake of their country has exhibited heroic status just as the fireman who trains to enter a burning building but never had the need.
America is full of heroes. America was founded by people who saw a better way and were willing to stand up and work towards that vision. That made this country different than most others. To not recognize those who died for their country as heroes is much more than a slight. It is a major blow against the principles that made this country great!

My opinion:

The term ‘hero’ has been much over-worked during the past 10 years. I think the term ‘hero’ should be reserved for those who perform in ordinate acts of bravery—whether or not they are awarded medals. These people know who they are—they can feel it inside (regardless of any outward expression of humility when discussing their heroic deeds).

But most of us are relegated to sub-heroic activities in war having to do with pure survival—almost on the level of why we became involved in military service. In my days, these reasons included economic, unwanted pregnancy support, exoneration of juvenile criminal activity, draft, nothing better to do, and many other such non-heroic reasons. But these reasons for joining the military do not necessarily limit their productive capabilities—as the legendary Chest Puller (the most decorated Marine in history, and a true hero) is purported as saying, “Give me an army of brig rats and shit birds, and I’ll conquer the world”.

I imagine the reasons for joining the service are as diverse as ever today—economic, reserve conscription, nothing better to do, etc. I’d bet far fewer join and volunteer for war on the basis of sheer patriotism than for other reasons—even in my day, combat pay and easy access to drugs served as good a reason as any to serve more than one tour of duty (even though the actual reasons for the war itself became known and was becoming more unpopular).

This is not to say the many look upon their military service as “serving God and Country”—many do. But I think the conservative propaganda factory—and their minions of war dodgers—keep the morale high for the miniscule number of our population who fight these political and economic wars by calling them heroes—especially when they and their compatriots begin to question what they were wounded and died for.

What is a hero? It’s difficult to say, accurately, because everyone has their own ideas of what makes or defines a hero. One’s hero may not be considered anything but an ordinary person by others. That hero to some may be anything but a hero to others.

Most, though, would generally agree that a hero is someone who takes the difficult road that must be traveled, not necessarily by choice, but out of necessity, or purpose.

Someone who is a real hero, often, but not always, has great difficulty acknowledging that they, themselves, are heroes.

In a way, Lib1 is correct, that some politicians use the term hero applied loosely to a group of people for political, or ideological, gain. Where he gets it wrong, as always, is to identify the perpetrators of that action as ‘conservatives’, or ‘right wingers’, or any other number of descriptives he chooses to apply to the right. How soon Lib1 forgets the loose application of the term ‘hero’, used by the left, to define the actions, or a person, who exhibits strong liberal/progressive ideals or traits. Anyone remember how Gabby Giffords was labeled a ‘hero’ for the sole reason of being the victim of a gunshot wound?

Ted Kennedy is considered by many on the left to be a ‘hero’. A man who ran away from an accident, leaving a young woman to die alone, is a hero simply for espousing liberal/progressive ideals. The idea of applying the label hero loosely, or too loosely, is exemplified in detail by this example.

Are all of our young men and women who have served during these last two wars heroes? Again, it depends on the application, and definition, of the word “hero”. Many of them are, and it’s as obvious as the sky being blue. So why are all of them considered heroes? It’s not exactly as Lib1 claims, that it’s the right exhibiting a sense of purpose for those that have served and died in wars they knew not what they were fighting for. To me, they are all considered heroes because they have displayed a choice of purpose themselves, in joining the military, to be part of something greater than themselves, to be one of the many who have lived and/or died, creating the sense of peace, freedom and liberty that we Americans enjoy.

Lib1 wants us to believe that it’s almost purely an occasion of circumstance. That many, or most, of those serving are where they are, doing what they are doing, out of lack of choice. That demeans the choice made by them to join the services, as well as attempting to engage people to believe that for a simple circumstance, any or all of us would be in the same position.

We have a duty, as Americans, to regard those serving our country, as our servicemembers do, as heroes. Not to promote an unpopular war. Not to promote a warlike society. No, we have a duty to do so because those who stand upon the walls of freedom and liberty deserve the respect and admiration of a nation that revels in the freedom and liberty they, and those who came before them, have provided us.

It is necessary to do so, otherwise what they have fought and died for is meaningless, as is our freedom and liberty. Liberal/progressive ideology needs for us to feel this way, as their ideology needs people to feel that circumstance is what makes someone special, good, evil, average, athletic, slothful, etc. That everyone is born equally able to do as anyone else, and that pure circumstance is what determines who a person will be. The reason? Because if that is true, then removal of differences of circumstance will result in everyone being equal. That birthplace, parentage, physical attributes, and education are only ideas that if equalized, result in everyone as equals. A liberal/progressive would rather have millions of zombie-like persons, equal in life’s outcomes, all following the dictation of the overlords, than the millions of individuals currently inhabiting our country. It makes for easier rule.

To all and any who served, and those spouses, children and family members who supported them, thank you. Thank you for being who you are, or were, and allowing me and mine to live how we have chosen to live. No matter the reason for the choice, your choice to serve is what has allowed me, mine, and everyone else in our nation, the freedom to enjoy living our lives the way we do. For that, you are heroes.

@johngalt: Very good analysis. The liberal heroes went to Canada and initiated the disasterous policies we now endure. Obama’s friends were all draft dodgers or domestic terrorists.

Chris Hayes and Panel = first class idiots…. this guy [Chris] looks like he would pee in his pants at the first encounter with the [his] Drill Sergeant… never mind the ‘real’ [combat] encounters he would have to endure…

@Liberal1 (objectivity): You just validated Chris Hayes’ wrong-headed screed that our brave military folks who died in battle are only heroes because of how they died; or even that they died at all.

No, where you and Hayes go askew is when you fail to take into account the fact that anyone who dons that uniform – whatever their reasoning – and puts their life on the line is a hero.

These people gave their life for their country. That is the ultimate sacrifice and to deny them this is nothing short of subversive, hateful rhetoric. But then again, one would expect this coming from you, lib1.

You seem awful fast to speak for all the folks in the military. Tell me, when and where did you serve?


As I said above, we all, every American, has a duty to those who have served, and are serving, to consider them heroes. Doing so validates the reason for having the military in the first place, which is, to protect the freedoms and liberties of everyone within our country, including those whose stupidity is without bounds. Without that validation, protecting the country’s freedoms and liberties becomes a meaningless exercise, and erases the purpose for having the military at all.

Lib1 is simply parroting the left’s talking points used to protect and defend ignorant people like Mr. Hayes.

@johngalt: Well said, sir.