Yet I am grateful for having served. Doing so took me out of my own social class and ethnic milieu—big-city, middle-class, Jewish—and gave me a vivid sense of the social breadth of my country. I slept in barracks and shared all my meals with American Indians, African Americans from Detroit, white Appalachians, Christian Scientists from Kansas, and discovered myself befriending and being befriended by young men I would not otherwise have met. I have never felt more American than when I was in the Army.
Read all of Joseph Epstein's essay in The Atlantic.