'One of our biggest battles within our own borders these days is that some argue that there's only one way to be patriotic, one way to behave as a citizen. Soldiers who've seen all manner of reactions to stress, and to each other, know that’s not really the case. The biggest gap I’ve noticed is not the knowledge of fighting wars—there’s plenty of facts on the news—but in the way that the military places people of different beliefs into a cohesive team, while our civil society seems to be pulling apart, with people refusing to find common ground. Hopefully, describing that process can help build connections.'
I think this is the largest part of the divide. A public with little experience of fighting our wars but filled with a sense of national pride does not quite grasp the elements of cohesive team building that goes into the units that are serving overseas. Xenophobia and treating half the population as an elusive 'enemy' are concepts unimaginable to a veteran that embraced their training and the values of their Corps. 'Taking our country back' has never been a rallying cry among those in uniform because it has NEVER been lost, a source of pride for those who serve. Until those issues are wrestled with the divide will remain.
This was not meant to be a recruiting poster though. But there are things the war poet has to offer the public, from the time of Homer who crafted Epic Similes to bridge a similar divide, to now. The war poet can simultaneously express criticism and question both authority and experience, while loving the place he or she criticizes. That should be the tack of all conscientious citizens.