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In honor of Veterans Day, what’s behind the military/civilian cultural divide?




Mario Tronti, a member of the 42nd Infantry Division of the U.S. National Guard, performs 'Taps' as an American flag is raised on the facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), November 10, 2017 in New York City.
Mario Tronti, a member of the 42nd Infantry Division of the U.S. National Guard, performs 'Taps' as an American flag is raised on the facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), November 10, 2017 in New York City.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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Veterans Day arrives Saturday, and for many people, it’s a day to honor friends and family who’ve served in the military.

But tomorrow may not strike a chord for those who aren’t connected to veterans. According to Pew Research Center, 2015 marked the lowest number of active-duty members since 2001, and less than 1 percent of the population serves in the military.

The lack of understanding between the military and civilians has become more apparent in recent years. In national news headlines, there was the controversy over President Trump’s allegedly botched condolence phone call to Sgt. La David Johnson’s wife. Johnson was one of three American soldiers who were killed in Niger last month.

The phone call led to a speech by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, whose son recently died serving in Afghanistan made a speech in St. Louis and addressed the disconnect between civilians and people in the military. The Washington Post reported that Kelly discusses his son to shed light on the burden of military families.

Do you feel the civilian/military gap? If so, what would help you better understand the other side?

Guests:

Libby Denkmann, KPCC veterans and military reporter

Morten G. Ender, sociology professor the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York where his focus includes armed forces and society