Re your comments about the guilt and remorse you feel about not doing more for your country: I think the emotions spring from the same sense of honor that drives so many of us who wear or have worn the uniform. There, but for the grace of God, could have gone I -- and it doesn't have to stay that way tomorrow.
Some call the obligation "paying it forward" -- our gift to the next generation, as we were gifted by those who went before. But I think of it as paying back; repaying the trust they had that we would not squander what they bought and paid for, often with boredom and loneliness, sometimes with the loss of those at home who couldn't or wouldn't wait, and sometimes, yes, with blood.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:-- John Alexander McCrae, In Flanders Fields
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be it yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.