Happy Veterans Day!

by Michael Potemra

We’re living in a free country, and today we honor those men and women who put themselves on the line to make it so. Kudos to Google for having a lovely patriotic illustration on its homepage: Google takes a lot of metaphorical flak for its often less-than-U.S.-centric choice of homepage art, so good for them for honoring some people who took literal flak for the rest of us.

One way to celebrate Veterans Day that just came to my attention: Amazon is offering the Kindle versions of nine Kurt Vonnegut books for $1.99 each, today only. Vonnegut was, of course, a World War II vet, and his experiences in the war shaped much of his writing. Liberals love him for his antiwar beliefs; conservatives love him for his famous story “Harrison Bergeron,” which scathingly denounced the radical-egalitarian Leviathan. His writing is uneven, and taken in large doses can get excessively preachy; at its best, though, it rises to the level of a powerful humanistic testament. (I recommend especially Slaughterhouse-Five — still his most famous book — and Mother Night.) Vonnegut had many problems with the policies of the U.S. government — hey, who doesn’t? — but I’m sure he’d acknowledge that it’s only in a country like the United States that a Vonnegut can genuinely flourish.

Thanks, again, to the vets who made it so . . .


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