Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday he feels all Americans should find a way to serve their country, suggesting the need for a renewal in public service that could also affect the military.
"I have deep reservations about just an all-volunteer military," Kerry said at a forum on the Vietnam War at the University of Texas in Austin.
"There should be shared responsibility among all Americans," he said. "I think that is one of the best ways you don’t have wars."
Kerry also said numerous deployments overseas under the current system placed enormous burdens on military families.
"Every American ought to find a way to serve, somehow. It doesn’t have to be in the military. I like the idea that everybody ought to give back something," he said.
Kerry, a former Navy officer, earned silver and bronze combat stars and three Purple Heart medals for his service in the Vietnam War. He become a prominent figure in the anti-war movement when he returned to the United States.
He said that, among the lessons from Vietnam, was that Americans must always treat returning veterans with dignity and respect regardless of whether a war was popular or unpopular.
Kerry, who was instrumental as a Senator in helping restore diplomatic ties with Vietnam, will accompany President Barack Obama on a trip there next month.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Paul Tait)