Myths are important symbols of cultural unity, and perhaps no myths are more important in the modern era than the military myths that establish our national heritage and remind us of the values our nation stands for.




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The number of hooves lifted into the air on equestrian statues reveals how the riders died.

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Fighting on opposite sides, father and son meet one last time on a Civil War battlefield. Found in the dying boy’s pocket is the melody now known as Taps.*


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Trainee tries unsuccessfully to kill himself with a floor buffer.


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Soldier serving overseas during the Gulf War receives a video of his wife having sex with other men and demanding a divorce.


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Saltpeter is secreted in the food or drink of enlisted men to curb their libidos.


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When questioned about the wisdom of teaching Boy Scouts to handle firearms, a US General points out the difference between being equipped to do something and doing it.


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Aircraft carrier orders lighthouse to change course.


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Badly wounded soldier tells his parents about his life-altering injuries under the guise of telling them about a friend.


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Being an only child (or an only son) automatically exempts you from military service.


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A few years after a couple of kids used a made-up name to sign up for a free yearly ice cream cone, they received a registration notice from the Selective Service for their non-existent friend.


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During the Gulf War, an Iraqi government propaganda broadcaster nicknamed Baghdad Betty warned American soldiers that “Bart Simpson is making love to your wife.”*


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The German destroyer FGS Lutjens saluted the American destroyer USS Winston Churchill with a “manning the rails” ceremony and the display of a banner reading “We Stand By You.”*


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During wartime, the seal of the President of the United States is modified so that the eagle’s head faces the opposite direction.*


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“God Bless the USA” singer-composer Lee Greenwood dodged the draft in the 1960s by fleeing to Canada.*


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A poem written by a Marine about a soldier’s lonely night before Christmas.*


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During a hospital visit, President George W. Bush saluted an Army officer who had been badly injured during the September 11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon.*


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General John J. Pershing
effectively discouraged Muslim terrorists in the Philippines by killing them and burying their bodies with pigs.*


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The family of a POW are reassured by letter sent by their son until they steam off the stamp and read what’s written there.


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After the Germans construct a phony wooden airfield during World War II, the British send a plane to drop a wooden bomb on it.


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General Norman Schwarzkopf provided a pithy quote about whether we should show forgiveness towards those who harbored terrorists.


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During a trip to North Vietnam, Jane Fonda turned smuggled messages from U.S. POWs over to their captors.


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Lee Marvin, actor, and Bob Keeshan, television’s “Captain Kangaroo,” fought together at the battle for Iwo Jima.


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Ed McMahon served as Johnny Carson’s commanding officer in the military.


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Bigot who demands the local military provide suitable escorts for his teen daughters is given his comeuppance.


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Former USAF General Dick Hawley delivered a caustic speech about “thoughts of such surpassing stupidity that they must be addressed.”*

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Article contrasts compensation to families of September 11 victims with benefits paid to families of servicemen killed on active duty.*


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M-16 rifles used by American soldiers in Vietnam were manufactured by the Mattel toy company.


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Recruits are issued stress cards, which when waved at demanding drill sergeants immediately entitle the recruits to gentler treatment.


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A photograph of a
shark jumping out of the water to attack a diver dangling from a helicopter is real.*


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An American flag is traditionally folded thirteen times because each of the folds has a special meaning.


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A Saint Xavier University professor sent a scathing, condemnatory message to an Air Force Academy cadet who was seeking assistance in planning an assembly for college students.*


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Marine in Bosnia subjects French officer to a verbal chiding.


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The gold ball atop a military flagpole contains a razor, a match, and a bullet.


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Twenty-one guns are fired in the national military salute because the digits in 1776 add up to 21.


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During Hurricane Isabel, sentries guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns remained at their posts.


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Dog tags used to have notches so they could be wedged between the teeth of fallen soldiers.


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E-mail describes duties and obligations of honor guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.


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Gen. George S. Patton Jr. discovers the French are honoring a
latrine pit.


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The son of one of the men who raised the flag on Mt. Suribachi gave a guided tour of the Iwo Jima Memorial to a group of Wisconsin schoolchildren.


Yellow bullet
“Dogs and sailors: Keep off the grass” admonishments were commonly displayed in U.S. naval towns.


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Marines in training must murder a pet dog or family member to be admitted to the Corps.


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Gal who demands her photo back receives box of pictures and instructions to pick hers out then return the rest.*


Multi-colored bullet
Tampon used to stanch deadly wound saves Marine’s life.


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A B-17 damaged on a bombing raid over Germany reached England safely after a German pilot declined to shoot it down.


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The Pentagon was built with extra bathrooms to accommodate racial segregation laws.


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The Pentagon was originally intended to be a hospital.


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Maps and other escape aids were smuggled to Allied POWs in Monopoly sets during World War II.


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Returning soldier discovers his wife has died and the kids starved to death.


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Former slaves reburied dead Union prisoners of war and held a cemetery dedication ceremony in Charleston in May 1865, one of the first known observances of Memorial Day.


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Coins left on military tombstones denote visits from living soldiers.


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Actor James Garner detected the presence of an enemy patrol during the Korean War through the smell of garlic.