OAK HILL, W.Va. – “Are you a good Confederate or a damn Yankee?”

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Getty Images

On March 20, America will be celebrating — if that’s the right word for it — the 15th anniversary of our invasion of Iraq, one of the most well-executed projections of U.S. military might in history. Despite fears that we were underestimating Saddam Hussein’s capabilities (not to mention an elaborate $250 million dress rehearsal during which the team playing the enemy quickly decimated the U.S. fleet), a coalition including American, British, Australian and Polish armed forces managed to seize control of the country within a mere 21 days, with relatively few casualties on either side.

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T&P photo by David Gutierrez

On a muggy Tuesday afternoon in August, Staff Sgt. Justin Mclnald, a U.S. Army soldier with the Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Battalion, was piloting a government-issued Dodge minivan through northeast New Jersey, giving me a tour of his sector, when a man suddenly appeared in the road. He was tall and sinewy, wearing a bright red do-rag, and he had a pistol tucked into his waistband. Or at least that’s what I discerned through the fabric of his dirty white tank top. It could’ve been a water gun, or a banana. Whatever it was, he was clutching it with one hand while motioning for us to stop with the other.

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A trailer for an upcoming multimedia feature titled “Rebuilding Honor: How Kyle Carpenter Came Back To Life” follows the Marine veteran and Medal of Honor recipient's difficult road to recovery after he was badly injured on Nov. 21, 2010, in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

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Photo courtesy of EC Productions

Courage, usually a central word in selling any war story, requires the proper packaging for the American public to pay attention. Even when the story is controversial, like “American Sniper,” if polished properly by the film industry, the movie can be the highest grossing movie of the year.

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