Before my father emigrated to America, he was a translator for the U.S. Army in Germany. As a Holocaust survivor, he never wanted his American-born sons to see the horrors of war. So the idea that I might serve in the U.S. Army was almost as fantastic as the idea that I’d join the Klan.
Note: I came of age during the Vietnam War, which both my parents vehemently opposed. Aiding and abetting the military industrial Congressional complex was simply, doubly not on the cards.
I wish I had served. Not just because I love my country enough to die for it — I mean make the other poor son of a bitch die for his (or his jihadi dreams). Also because I now view such service as an honor, rather than an obligation. And, it must be said, it would have been a way to indulge my infatuation with firearms.
Hands-on real-world proficiency with military arms is something I missed. And miss now.
That said, I know that youth is wasted on the young. I doubt I would have valued that experience as much as I should have, if you know what I mean. Anyway, there it is: a good reason to join the armed forces. Not to seem insensitive to the seriousness of the military arts, but toys! Wonderful, tax-payer-funded toys!