America has never been a stranger to war.
In our relatively short history as a nation, we've fought a lot of them: 11 official wars and numerous other domestic and international military conflicts, collectively resulting in huge numbers of casualties on both sides of the battlefield.
It's a sober fact we're meant to be reminded of on Memorial Day, particularly in light of the nearly 7,000 U.S. troops killed, and the many more wounded, over the last decade in our most recent and ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But today, even as the U.S. military continues to grow more inclusive, most Americans are much less likely than previous generations to either be involved in an armed military conflict or to know a friend or family member serving in one. This is in large part because the military has been an all-volunteer force since the end of the Vietnam War.
As Paul Waldman of the American Prospect noted in his 2014 article: