In 1863, more than 100 people died when anti-conscription riots raged in New York City. Rioters who opposed the Union draft took special aim at abolitionists and Blacks.

In 1917, socialists like Eugene Debs were arrested under the Espionage Act, passed by Congress to prevent “interference in the success of the armed forces.”

In 1941, aviator Charles Lindbergh told a crowd in Des Moines that the British government, the Roosevelt administration and Jews were conspiring to ensnare America in a European war. Of the Jewish influence, Lindbergh said this: “Their greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government.”

These anecdotes aren’t offered as any kind of endorsement of reprehensible views or intended to embarrass or somehow diminish American efforts in times of war or strife. They only serve to point out that ours isn’t the only era when domestic public opinion seems unruly, passionate and divided. Politics are ugly and sometimes the country only looks unified in hindsight. Yet those who serve, then as now, display a proven record of rising above the discord with professionalism, honor and bravery, even if the home front doesn’t always reciprocate.

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