Family celebrates tradition of military service dating back to Civil War

NPR Staff 

Military service once defined the lives of many men in the United States, particularly before the end of the draft in 1973. But today, many younger adults have no direct family ties to the military at all.

For the men in Mark and Jeremy Pierce's family, however, military service is a tradition dating back to the Civil War.

"My father always taught us growing up that there's service to the community, service to the church and service to the country," says Mark, of Fillmore, Utah, who retired in 2010 after nearly four decades as a Green Beret. Jeremy, his son, is a veteran of the U.S. Army, and Jeremy's brother has also served.

NPR's Audie Cornish talks with Mark and Jeremy about how military service contributed to their coming of age as men, how service has often been tied to masculinity across the generations — and how that may be changing as the share of women in the military has grown.

Click here to read interview highlights and listen to the full interview.