I have never been a rah-rah patriotic zealot. I went through a period in high school and college where I was, if not ashamed, not particularly proud of my country. I even considered eventually moving to Brazil, the country of my mother’s birth, to live because I saw it in some ways better than the U.S.
My draft lottery number was so high, I never had to apply for a deferment and was able to attend college without fear of being drafted. When I was accepted to medical school in 1974, I had to find a way to pay for this. I joined the Navy, which had a scholarship program. While I was proud to serve, and did honorably for 13 years, my reason for joining was almost entirely financial; I preferred to pay back time in the Navy instead of money to a bank. I was discharged in 1987, proud of my service and free of debt.