Memorial Day War Metaphors

I have never served in the military (although I was in the Peace Corps many years ago).  However, my grandfather was a pilot in World War I (!) and my oldest brother was in the Navy during the Vietnam War.  I have the utmost respect for those military personnel and their families who have sacrificed so much for their country.

I have covered war metaphors extensively in previous posts. However, on this Memorial Day, I would like to add a few more examples of metaphors based on experiences of military personnel after the end of a war.

After the War

win its share of battles

Presidential elections are often referred to as battles, but candidates must earn the greatest number of votes in each state.  Each candidate must win the most popular and electoral votes to win the election.   Thus, after an election, commentators may claim that one party or the other won its share of battles in an election.

Example:  In 2008, John McCain won his share of battles, but he was not able to win the presidential election.

The First Battle of Bull Run during the Civil War, July 21, 1861
The First Battle of Bull Run during the Civil War                                      July 21, 1861

take-no-prisoners style

During a war, enemy soldiers may be captured and held as prisoners of war.  However, in some extreme battles, all soldiers are killed and no prisoners are taken.  This is referred to as a take-no-prisoners style of war.  Metaphorically, a politician who makes no concessions and fights for what he or she wants may also be described as having a take-no-prisoner style of governing.

Example:  Some Republican Congresspersons have a take-no-prisoner style of writing policies for immigration reform.

badge of honor, badge of shame

After a war, military personnel who have been very heroic may be given medals or badges for their bravery.  These may be referred to as badges of honor.  Metaphorically, someone who does something good for his or her community may earn a badge of honor.  Someone who does something embarrassing may be labeled with a badge of shame.

Example:  Although critics of Barack Obama claim his policies in support of the middle class are bad for the country.  However, he stated that he wears the title of culture warrior as a badge of honor.

The U.S. Medal of Honor
The U.S. Army Medal of Honor

war stories

People who have fought in a war will have many scary stories of their experiences.  These are simply called war stories.  People involved in politics may also have stories of their experiences in elections or government service.  These stories may also be referred to as war stories.

Example:  John McCain has many war stories from his experience as a prisoner of war in Vietnam and as a U.S. Congressman for several decades.

Next time:  TBA