Veteran’s Day occurs every year on November 11th in the US to mark the 11th month, of the 11th day, at the 11th hour when World War I ended. The day is marked with events across America, especially at places like Arlington National Cemetery where President Biden appeared this year. Do young people appreciate the military in the same ways as their parents? Do they have pride in the women and men who serve or have served in the armed forces?
We have asked our sample of young people their attitudes toward service members for many years. Here, we emphasize findings from 2017 to 2021. When asked how much they agreed with the statement, “I am proud of the men and women who serve in the military”; a full 97% of respondents agreed strongly or somewhat agreed with it. Asked about a different statement, 96% agreed that “I have confidence in the ability of our military to perform well in wartime.” These numbers are quite positive!
Our data confirm an uproariously positive attitude toward the military, even among civilian respondents—a group whose college-attending grandparents in the 1960’s and 1970’s would have shown less support for.
Technically, these data do vary significantly by military status (statistics not shown). For instance, only 66.5% of civilian respondents said they agree strongly (exclusively, not including somewhat agree) that they are confident in military performance during wartime compared to 83.3% of ROTC and 74.5% of academy cadets. There may be some tension in these findings but, overall, young Americans in colleges and universities clearly support the troops as we move past another Veterans Day.