Since 9/11, only 1% of eligible Americans have served in the United States military. That’s the smallest percentage in our history, and it’s contributed to an unprecedented divide between civilians and military members, veterans and their families.
NPR hopes to help find ways to bridge that divide with the latest season of its Rough Translation podcast. Titled “Home/Front,” the seven-episode series will be hosted by NPR veterans correspondent Quil Lawrence, a radio journalist known for his work covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Lawrence’s research has revealed that it’s not only an experience gap between veterans and civilians. There’s also very little overlap between their social circles, so it’s a tiny percentage of civilians who can say they have a friend who served.
The podcast will get into some thorny issues. Can we help veterans feel less isolated and misunderstood by the rest of society? Can civilians learn to engage in direct communication with the military community without feeling they don’t have a right to their opinions if they didn’t serve?
Part of our society’s love for the “Greatest Generation” was fueled by the fact that almost everyone had a friend, neighbor or family member who served in World War II. Even as late as the Vietnam War, the draft meant that military service was a huge part of life for average Americans around the country.
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