CANONSBURG, Pa. — Every year, Eric Miller brought his son Aidan to the famous Fourth of July parade in Canonsburg, an hourslong procession that draws tens of thousands of spectators, with lawn chairs set out along the route days ahead of time.
Since Aidan was 5, he felt the stirrings of patriotism and yearned to put on a uniform. Mr. Miller did not want his son to enlist. He worried as only a parent can that Aidan would be sent to a combat zone.
But straight out of high school, Aidan fulfilled his dream in this patriotic town south of Pittsburgh, where there are crisp American flags around memorials to veterans in front of the municipal building. Today, Aidan is 20 and stationed with the Army in Kentucky. And this past week, his father exhaled in profound relief when President Biden announced that American troops would be coming home from Afghanistan.
“I’m not a Biden fan but I’m for that, pulling the troops out of there,” said Mr. Miller, 46, a salesman. He dismissed the arguments of some Republican officials and military leaders that Taliban extremists would overrun the country once Americans left. “We can’t babysit everybody,” he said.