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Every war has its heroes who are used to symbolize the conflict and try and bring it meaning in some way.
The Great War had Sgt. Alvin C. York who led a raid on a German machine gun nest, killing 28 soldiers and taking captive more than 100 others.
His story was turned into a movie starring Gary Cooper that was used to support American’s entry in World War II (it was playing in the theaters as Pearl Harbor was being bombed).
The Second World War had Audie Murphy, who became a hero after holding off a company of German soldiers and then leading a counterattack, all the while wounded and out of ammunition.
Murphy became a movie star after the conflict was over, starring in such films as The Red Badge of Courage and The Quiet American, as well as a series of B westerns. He also played himself in the film To Hell and Back.
In the Viet Nam war we had Ron Kovic, memorialized in the book and movie Born on the Fourth of July, and played by Tom Cruise in the film. Continue reading