A top veterans group called Monday for an “immediate and unequivocal apology” after an MSNBC host said on the eve of Memorial Day that it makes him “uncomfortable” to describe fallen soldiers as heroes.
Chris Hayes made the comment while kicking off a panel discussion Sunday on his show, “Up With Chris Hayes.”
He noted it’s “very difficult to talk about the war dead and the fallen without invoking valor, without invoking the words ‘heroes.’”
Hayes tried to explain why that makes him uneasy: “I feel … uncomfortable about the word hero because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war.”
Veterans of Foreign Wars, in addition to a throng of conservative bloggers and groups, slammed Hayes for being so conflicted about the term.
“Chris Hayes’ recent remarks on MSNBC regarding our fallen service members are reprehensible and disgusting,” VFW National Commander Richard DeNoyer said in a statement to FoxNews.com. “His words reflect his obvious disregard for the service and sacrifice of the men and women who have paid the ultimate price while defending our nation. His insipid statement is particularly callous because it comes at a time when our entire nation pauses to reflect and honor the memory of our nations’ fallen heroes.”
He continued: “It is especially devastating to the many broken-hearted children, spouses and parents, left behind to grieve for a loved one. Such an ignorant and uncaring and blatant disregard for people’s deep feelings are indefensible, and that is why the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States demand that Mr. Hayes and MSNBC provides an immediate and unequivocal apology.”
On the show Sunday, Hayes couched his remarks and acknowledged his concerns might not be justified.
“I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism — of you know, hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic,” he said. “But maybe I’m wrong about that.”
Hayes later tweeted in defense of the discussion, linking to another segment in which he talked about how many Americans do not feel connected to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — with a relatively tiny percentage of the country actually fighting those wars…
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