I just finished reading an impressive feature article in Newsweek on multi-generational military families who are currently actively engaged in the war. The main thing that I drew from what the families said was the sense of virtue - honor, courage, and honesty - that is part of the fabric of military life. The pride the parents found in their children was drawn from their exhibition of virtues. The families quoted in the article express a kind of third-party observation of civilian life that has lower expectations of individuals.
Last Saturday I attended my niece's high school graduation service. As the students strode across the stage to receive their diplomas, the school principal announced the educational institution the students planned to attend. Two graduates are entering the Air Force Academy and, at that announcement, the entire audience applauded, as opposed to the families cheering their own graduate. (These two students receive more applause than even the high school sports stars.) I took it as a general approval of the commitment these two future Air Force officers are showing to virtue: sacrifice, a dedication to something beyond themselves, and something that requires a greater demand on them personally. It's impressive and encouraging that 18 year olds in our culture are willing to do something that requires more of them than civilian life.
Of course, virtues can be and are a part of civilian life, it's just that it's not as common to demand more but rather less. The Newsweek article was a refreshing glimpse into the virtues that are part of military culture and this endowment in military families.