I think the "in the south" greater respect for the military is perhaps more an urban-rural cultural artifact. In short, it appears that in "the south," regardless of other cultural variations, more are within two generations of rural - agricultural. Ditto on the Northern Plains of the U.S.
I'd agree with that. In my area (rural Pennsylvania) it was much the same way. Returning vets were greeted much more warmly here than in the urban areas. I always figured it was because rural ares sent a higher percentage of their young men off than the urban areas. Around here, everyone knows somebody who went to Vietnam.