Some reports on the Millennial Generation have concluded that the current youth of America is the least patriotic of the generations. Others would argue that the Millennials certainly have plenty of passion to tap into; however, it seems that much of that passion as it pertains to patriotism is merely unfocused and ill-shaped.
There is something inherently different and alarming about [the millennial generation], but it has become evident that [they] have a tremendous amount of energy and passion. [Our] hope is that we can convert… gaudy display of patriotism into a genuine desire to serve and create positive change in the United States. The voice of veterans and service members is essential to the millennial generation’s task of reinventing its sense of patriotism.
Use of the phrase “American exceptionalism” has become suppressed, with the phrase even becoming synonymous with Trump supporters, the alt-right, and “the establishment”. I have not given up on the Millennials, for I believe they simply have a very different way of expressing patriotism and love of life that needs to be translated for those of us from Generation X. There are significant differences between the Millennial Generation and Generation X that might, for example, drive different ways to recruit patriots into the military. Some things that we can do to bridge the generations, including the Baby Boomers, is to have veteran-led discussions of patriotism, followed up by Millennial-led counter-discussion on how this generation became this way.
Right now, I do not see how these discussions will occur, since the generations prefer different media for communication. In the meantime, the military that depends on patriots to volunteer for service will find it harder to attract future service members into a system designed for the older generations.