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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Born on the Fourth of July

There are few movies that have affected me so deeply that I would say they changed my life; Born on the Fourth of July is one. I recently picked up the original book by Ron Kovic and gave it for a spin.

Ron Kovic is America's boy. Born on the fourth of July, he joins the army in his youth to fight for his country in the Vietnam War. He suffers a life-changing, debilitating injury on the battlefield, and the poor care he receives is enough to drive him to fight for long-term change in how veterans are treated and how his country chooses their wars.

Full disclosure: This is not an easy book to read. It is honest and it is raw, raking on you to truly understand the horrors of what happens when we send our men and our women off to war. I say that early on because, while I loved the movie, even that was lighter fare than Kovic's book. (And that's saying something--the movie is terribly powerful.)

Kovic does not mince words in this memoir, and he does not hold back. At times I felt as though I was reading a horror show, only it was as honest as can be. For those of us whom have never seen a war first hand, it is incredibly important that we read work like this and meditate on it. How for granted we take not just our freedom, but the ability to not fight in wars thanks to others who do. In light of the current VA scandal, this was an incredibly timely book even though it was written almost four decades ago.

Hard copy for purchase below.

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