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Memorial Day in Images
by Milicent Cranor
In honor of Memorial Day, we present works of art depicting scenes from various American wars of the last two centuries.

WHO

US Military and Civilians are Increasingly Divided
This Los Angeles Times special report explores the deepening demographic divide between the less than 1% of Americans who serve in the armed services and the rest of the American people. One of the most vexing problems of the Vietnam War was the intersection of the draft with an unpopular war. The solution is reflected in the professionalization of military service, which has created a separate fighting class within American society. This fighting class is then often segregated from the general population and, increasingly, an inter-generational vocation that remains “in the family.”

This Chart Shows Americans Have No Idea Why Memorial Day Exists
What do the American people know about Memorial Day beyond barbecues, beer and long drives to visit relatives? Not much. That’s according to a survey of the top Google searches related to Memorial Day, which reveals a stunning blind-spot about America’s designated day of reverence for its war dead. Three of the top five searches listed were, in effect, searching for the meaning of the holiday.

When a Soldier’s Life Ends, the Job of Another Soldier Begins
Howard Altman of The Tampa Tribune reports on the difficult task facing “notification” officers serving in the military. They are the individuals given the unenviable task of notifying a service member’s next of kin that their loved one has died in the line of duty.

Despite Gains, Female Soldiers Fight to Belong While at War
The New York Times looks at the perseverance of women serving in the military, often in the face of increased psychic distress, a sexual harassment epidemic and a rapidly-growing suicide rate. In addition to their disproportionate exposure to a variety of these ills, most women surveyed report experiencing a type of unspoken discrimination that requires them to continually prove their competence as compared to their male counterparts… who rarely have to re-pass the same test over and over again.

WHAT

The Most Expensive Wars in US History
Over the long term, veterans often pay the highest price for war. And, of course, the fallen pay the ultimate price. But what have taxpayers paid for America’s long history of belligerence? 24/7 Wall Street crunched the numbers and ranked America’s wars based on the actual price tag of each adventure. World War II was the most expensive in US. history, but the War on Terror and the Vietnam War are not far behind… which seems like a bad investment since most of the wars on the list were fought to acquire land. So far, the War on Terror is matching Vietnam as an ultimate exercise in financial futility… unless you are a military contractor.

WHY

Why the Last of the JFK Files Could Embarrass the CIA
Bryan Bender of Politico writes about a “special team” of seven archivists and technicians racing to comply with the JFK Records Act of 1992, which mandates that some 40,000 documents must be made public by October 2017. Among that huge collection there are approximately 1,100 CIA documents in a trove of 3,600 never-before seen documents. It is believed that they contain sensitive and potentially “embarrassing” information on the Agency’s most notorious operations, covert operatives and its persistent mendacity about Lee Harvey Oswald. Be sure to check WhoWhatWhy’s long list of stories and resources on both the assassination and the “never-ending wait” for the documents in question.

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