I meant service in some form, not necessarily guns and boots... but some service could easily act as a 'ritual' taking a person from youth to adult. I detest the idea of compulsory service, but in many countries it does seem to have a good effect.
I am completely against any form of mandatory service, military or no, on account of "leave me the fuck alone".
When you say American Myths, what are you referring to?
The American Dream™.
Work hard, get rich.
My party is the party of fiscal responsibility.
We need to get tough on crime.
The 1950s were a golden age that we should try to recapture.
We're always saving the world from itself.
If I don't step out of line, nothing bad will happen to me.
Cops don't arrest innocent people.
Shall I go on?
Ah ah... that's a different sort of myth than I was referencing. I meant mythic stories (ala Joseph Campbell) that provide a model for people as they grow in their own experience of life. Many traditional societies had Hero stories, about some guy that is the everyman/fool/child who goes on a life changing experience, becoming the hero. In each individuals life, they take that same path, from the birth/child/fool position through taking the adventure that leads to being a grown/contributing member of society.
There are some stories that sorta cover this, Star Wars, obviously and also Avatar The Last Airbender as a more recent example... but these stories aren't a society wide tool, they're attempts by modern storytellers to recapture the old mythic concept. They still cling to the most classic model and don't really cover the modern cultural experience well enough IMO.