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To celebrate Veterans Day, I spent a few hours this week talking to former members of the U.S. Armed Services. The conversations ranged from political—they were understandably eager to debate Colin Kaepernick and #TakeTheKnee—to deeply personal. When I brought up the recent mass shootings in Sutherland Springs and Las Vegas, they clued me in to how differently veterans and civilians experience the domestic acts of mass violence. In today’s issue, I’ll explore that divide. Then I’ll share a few veterans’ definitions of a word that has become increasingly charged in American culture: patriotism. And after that, if you want to read more from veterans, check out The Atlantic’s new project, “A Veteran’s View.”

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