Charles Hayes: It’s crystal clear that real warriors—men and women who have been in the thick of prolonged battle—seldom afterwards view war as a viable way to settle differences, any kind of differences.
Charles Hayes: Today I feel very differently about the Vietnam War than I did in my youth, but my own feelings of guilt during that time give me a unique kind of insight into the psychology of courage and commitment. America has never had a shortage of courageous citizens willing to take up arms and fight to the death for reasons and causes beyond their own understanding. Arlington Cemetery in Virginia serves as proof. But my sense of the decades since the end of World War II is that America has and is experiencing a courage crisis of shameful origin and of tragic consequence.
As a longtime resident of Wasilla, Alaska, I wonder if my hometown will ever escape its current association with partisan politics in the minds of people elsewhere. More specifically, will the American public ever be able to engage in an adult conversation about end-of-life medical issues? Too many people, it seems, don’t realize that death [...]