One subculture within the United States is that of the US Army. The Army defends the nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic. It is an exclusive group since not everyone in the country serves in the Army.
The US Army’s official birthday is June 14, 1775, however its origins are much earlier than that. During British colonialism, citizens often had to take up arms to defend themselves, primarily against the Indians, since the British did not have a significant military presence in America. “Two concepts that still shape the American military can be traced to this period. The first is the idea of the citizen soldier, who picks up his gun in wartime and returns to civilian pursuits in peace. The second is the concept of universal obligation…” (Brown, page xiii).
When the colonists rebelled against Britain, they raised an Army of volunteers to fight under the leadership of General George Washington. Following the war and the forming of the United States, the US Constitution authorizes Congress to raise an Army for the national defense.
Since the conflict in Vietnam ended, the military has been an all-volunteer force. This means that generally people are in the military because they want to serve, albeit the motivation for service can vary across a wide spectrum of reasons.
During the Vietnam Conflict, many Americans held a poor view of the military and its political and military leadership. Protestors met returning soldiers at airports, train and bus stations, and in hometowns with open hostility. Following the conflict, and perhaps the maturing of the ‘60s generation, the view towards the military began to change somewhat. The hostility declined, but an appreciation for the military never really re-emerged during the Ford and Carter years. Though President Reagan began a military buildup, which arguably led to the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the country had no visible appreciation of the military and the Army in particular. It was not until the military success of the 1991 Gulf War did America visibly regain its pride in the Army. Rather than protests when soldiers returned, there were celebrations and victory parades. For the next ten years, the Army experienced an increased use overseas. These missions generally consisted of peacekeeping and nation rebuilding efforts in which it generally enjoyed success, with the exception of the last days of humanitarian efforts in Somalia.
In 2001, many aspects of life in America changed forever with the terrorist attacks of September 11. Congress declared the War on Terror, and troops deployed to Afghanistan to eliminate terrorist bases there and attempt to capture Osama bin Laden who claimed responsibility for the attacks. In 2003, forces attacked Iraq to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein who was viewed as a major military threat and safeguard of terrorists. In stark contrast to the emotions exhibited during the conflict in Vietnam, Americans have shown...