It's difficult for an American president to govern through nuance, especially when it's necessary to persuade a majority of the people that certain actions are essential for national security. And effective persuasion usually requires clarity.
That's how you arrive at President George W. Bush's stark formulation "You're either with us, or you're with the terrorists" after Sept. 11, and much of what sprang from it.
Many school safe rooms, like this one inside Jeffries Elementary in Springfield, Mo., also serve as gymnasiums. Constructed with a $1.6 million grant from FEMA, which covered 75 percent of the cost, the shelter can hold more than 500 people — enough to accommodate all the school's students and employees.
Arthur Fiala, shown here in 1918 and 2005, was a private in the 26th Company of the 20th Engineers Regiment during World War I.
Credit S.E. Brown / Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Richard Rubin has written for The Atlantic and The New York Times Magazine. His other books include Confederacy of Silence and Everyday American History of the 20th Century.
Credit Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
George Briant, shown here in an undated photo and in 2004, recalls Nov. 11, 1918, the day the war ended and the guns fell silent: "You looked like you were in a new land; you couldn't believe that everything is quiet".
Ten years ago, writer Richard Rubin set out to talk to every living American veteran of World War I he could find. It wasn't easy, but he tracked down dozens of centenarian vets, ages 101 to 113, collected their stories and put them in a new book called The Last of the Doughboys. He tells NPR's Melissa Block about the veterans he talked to, and the stories they shared.
The Congressional Gold Medal has been posthumously awarded to four girls killed in the 1963 bombing of Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church. President Obama signed the legislation Friday, as (from left) Birmingham Mayor William Bell, Dr. Sharon Malone Holder, Attorney General Eric Holder, Rep. Terri Sewell, and relatives of Denise McNair and Carole Robertson look on.
They were just little girls when they were killed in 1963, in what came to be known as the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing. And now Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley have been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, nearly 50 years after the attack in Birmingham, Ala.
President Obama signed the legislation Friday to award the girls — all of them 14, except for McNair, who was 11 — with the highest honor Congress can bestow upon a civilian.