The Death of the 'Old Army Buddy'

Draft's end means a generation sans sense of service, camaraderie
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2009 11:23 AM CDT
circa 1955: Three young men in military uniforms escort a laughing young woman away from the Penny Arcade in an amusement park, 1950s.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – On Memorial Day, former soldiers of all ages will be touching base with their brothers in arms, but as Michael Auslin writes in the Washington Post, real Old Army Buddies are on the verge of extinction. The men who willingly served during the drafts of the '50s and '60s came home with rich experiences and lifelong bonds that soldiers don't get today.

Auslin's father "belongs to the last full generation of Americans forced to serve their country, to work and live with others radically different from themselves," he writes. "Unlike our fathers, we are not called to give even a small portion of our lives to the defense of our country," and while the results aren't yet in, "It is unclear whether a large, diverse society can survive indefinitely without that sense of service to the nation and that experience in social bonding."
(Read more draft stories.)