Skip to comments.Can We Ever Repay the Greatest Generation?
Posted on 05/30/2004 6:41:22 PM PDT by Lando Lincoln
Can my generation ever repay the sacrifices made by our parents and grandparents? Yes, and no.
We baby-boomers can never completely understand the suffering our grandparents and parents endured during the Great Depression. Trying to feed their families anyway they could, men would sweep the streets and clean toilets. They would do anything they had to do to buy milk or bread for their children. Yet, through these troubled times, the crime rate was low, dispelling the notion that poverty is the cause of crime. Never had so many Americans felt poverty like that experienced in the years leading up to World War II.
The stock market crash of 1929 set off a chain of world events that would not correct itself for nearly two decades or one entire generation. America was so intent on pulling itself out of the depression that many did not see nor admit to the gathering warnings of war from Europe.
December 7, 1941, the day that would indeed live in infamy, changed everything. There are few days in American history that are remembered as vividly as December 7, 1941. That was the day that America grew up. That was the day that Americans put aside their own wants and needs and pulled together to face an enemy that stood diametrically opposed to everything citizens of this country held close to their hearts and had engrained in their souls.
With the exception of Great Britain, the free countries of Europe were falling before the Nazi machine and being absorbed against their will into the German empire. England, despite standing strong, suffered a terrible beating every night from Germanys new buzz-bombs. Hitler knew as long as the United States kept her head in the sand and ignored his aggression, all of Europe would be his, including England, in time.
Japan was impatient. Japan ruined Hitlers plans by attacking our ships in the American Naval port, Pearl Harbor. When America declared war on Japan, Germany honored their countrys pact with Japan as allies--perhaps the only agreement Germany honored--and declared war on America and the Second World War was underway. It didnt happen a moment to soon. Had Pearl Harbor happened one year later, it may have been too late. Americas failure to recognize the strength and danger of the Nazi empire nearly ended the great American experiment in her adolescence.
Is the World War II generation the ''greatest generation?'' These WWII heroes say no, they are not. There is great wisdom in those few words. Is there a ''greatest generation'' or is every generation the greatest?
Our founding fathers saw greatness in this fledgling country and that the men of that generation fought and died for their freedom--and for ours. That generation gave us the chance to fulfill our destiny. It was up to succeeding generations to see that the country reached its destiny. The torch was passed.
There have been 12 generations in the 228 years since America severed the ties with an oppressive English ruler and took the first, uncertain step towards an unknown future. The first generation of Americans was willing to give up life, limb, and property to be free.
Each succeeding generation had hurtles to overcome. Each generation was successful.
Americas fourth generation had perhaps the greatest challenge of all. It was asked to keep America united. This challenge was made even more painful because demons from within had divided the country. "...but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came." (Abraham Lincolns second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865.) The scars on that generation ran deep, but it survived, endured, and grew. More Americans died in the Civil War than in all American wars combined.
Our seventh generation went to Europe and fought in trenches and flew bi-wing airplanes made of paper and wood. World War I, the war to end all wars, sadly did not teach the world that tyranny and oppression cannot stand. Some still do not understand that the human spirit must be free.
One generation later, Americans once again heard the drum-beat of war. As every generation before them, it answered the call. Woefully unprepared for war, Americans united, sacrificed, and died not only to keep America free, but to give the nations of the world the chance to be free. Foreign soil became the final resting place for 400,000 Americans from 1941 to 1945. Those men and women did not die in vain. Those who survived shun the title of the ''greatest generation.'' ''We had a job to do and we did it,'' these great Americans have said. The eighth generation did a superb job, and we and the succeeding generations are grateful.
The World War II generation accepted the torch of freedom handed to them with love and that torch was protected by the souls of all those who had given their lives and from previous generations of Americans who gave their sons, daughters, fathers, brothers, and husbands to keep America free.
The Korean War generation, the Vietnam War generation, and the Gulf War generation passed the torch of freedom from father to son.
Once again the winds of war are upon us. The twelfth generation of Americans is fighting radical Islamic terrorists who claim no country, have no set borders, and wear no uniform. The goal of radical Islam is no different than Americas previous enemies. Terrorists use different tactics, however. Attacking and killing the innocent is the weapon of choice. Children are targets; babies are targets, and all is justified because it is radical Islams belief that Islam is destined to be the supreme rulers of world. This religious terrorist believes that he has Gods will and power on his side just as most of our enemies before him have believed.
December 7, 1941, heralded the beginning of World War II. September 11, 2001, marked the beginning of ''World War III.'' That was the day that America woke up. This enemy hides in the shadows, covers its face, and evokes the name of God as he murders.
The words of ''God Bless America'' come to mind. ''God bless America, land that I love, stand beside her and guide her through the night with a light from above.''
May God protect and guide this ''greatest generation'' as he has all the generations that have become before it. May God embrace those that make the ultimate sacrifice and shield those still in harm's way from danger for they are the parents of the next ''greatest generation'' of Americans, who will stand ready to protect this great country from enemies still unknown.
That is how we will repay all the generations that have come before us. Americans yet unborn will grow and stand ready to accept the torch handed down to them with great love and held high through great sacrifice.
Barbara is a registered nurse who enjoys writing about politics and current events. Her website is at http://www.republicanandproud.com and she receives e-mail at: email@example.com.
I agree those that are the generation of WWII were great and fought for our freedom, with alot of them suffering and dying. Yet the term used, 'greatest generation', is a bit over used. All pass generations who fought for freedom are great and should all be praised.
You pay them back every two weeks. You ever notice that line on your paycheck stub that says FICA?
Whenever we visit my 82 year old dad in Corpus Christi, he takes us out to lunch at Denny's or Golden Corral or some such place and when we say, "Thanks for lunch", he says, "Don't thank me, you paid for it."
Think about it.
Television media anchors supposedly praise the "greatest generation", but they themselves are more in alignment with the "5th column" of the day, i.e. socialists, communists, marxists, dupes, useful idiots, etc. undermining the War II effort.
Not everyone lost their jobs/were starving during the Great Depression.Most people were not invested in the market,many people took cut in pay,but prices also fell.
Our CRASH was but part of a world wide depression,which had hit Europe years and years prior to '29.We then joined the rest of the world...our great crash did NOT begin anything.
And WW II was brewing BEFORE our depression!
Rather than write a whole thesis refuting her entire article,I'll just say that she needs to learn factual history.And this PC stuff about "THE GREATEST GENERATION",is sheer hyperbole.
The greatest generation produced the hippy generation. Go figure.
The best way to thank them is to fully support the current crop of the greatest generation defending our country.
"If you can read this, thank a teacher. Because you can read it in English, thank a soldier."
What happened to 2-3-and 4?
they certainly are far and away much better than my generation....the boomers.....
my generation can be called the "worse" one in a nanosecond...
I am trying to think of the narcissism and the arrogance and the conceit of my generation, demanding a Vietnam Memorial before a WW2 memorial.....
WW2 was by far more demanding , more all encompassing, more taxing , more intrusive than anything that came along with Vietnam....
Later, not long before he died, I heard what he did. Not much - war-wise, but he had been a Dartmouth graduate, and was an owner of 3 successful stores (5&10 types) when WW2 began. He was 38 years old, married, no kids and felt so strongly about his country, that he enlisted. Not a gung-ho kid --- a setted man. He became a quartermaster and was in the Battle of the Bulge, driving a truck (without headlights) through the country at breakneck speed, He said he never killed anyone -- just animals that roamed when he was speeding supplies to the front. He came home and found that those in charge of his stores had let them rot away, so he narrowed it down to just one nice little store that provided a living --- never regretting what he had done that allowed his businesses to fade away. To him, it was country first, and by his own little contribution to the war, it was successful.
Thank you Stan!
I often think of him.
The "greatest generation" were largely the children of immigrants, or immigrants themselves. They also grew up in the Depression. They became so devoted to conformity, and were so repressed emotionally, that they brought up a generation of emotionally-starved children. Look at "Leave It to Beaver." I DON'T mean that that show is realistic, but it was accepted as "entertainment" and as an image of a desirable way to live. Talk about constipated! It's a bunch of zombies, accompanied with a laugh track. The hippies were rebelling, in a sick and destructive way, to their own emotional and spiritual starvation. Of course, they paid for it with gonorrhea and lots of other delightful consequences.
Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social aspects that directly effects Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations (i.e. The Baby Boomers) are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.
Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details.
I thank the WWII generation for their service against the evils of Germany, Japan, and Italy. Unfortunately, once they returned home they have been voting to slowly build a tyranny on our soil. The title of greatest generation IMO still belongs to our founding fathers and those who fought the revolutionary war. Not only did many of them sacrifice their lives, but also they more than any other generation understood the realities of human nature. It was this understanding that allowed them to build the institutions of this country to make sure that those who gave their lives did not do so in vain.
I've had discussions with some of my liberal acquaintances who say that FDR helped get the USA out with his New Deal. I could have sworn that there has been a lot of evidence that FDR's policies actually prolonged the Great Depression until WW2 came about, do you know anything about this?
The CRASH took place in October of '29 and the market was making strides in a comeback,but FDR's schemes made things so much worse,that instead of righting itself,the market went into a deep slide and really hit the skids in '33.
The ONLY thing that pulled this nation out of the Depression was WW II!
And,FWIW...some of FDR's schemes were so horrendous,that they were ruled unConstitutional and shut down.
There are MANY myths attached to the Crash and the Depression,which,unfortunately, far too many people believe are "facts".
The ONLY thing that pulled this nation out of the Depression was WW II!
*** Perhaps the one time where war was good for the economy? Not to mention rapid modernization of manufacturing to keep up with ship building,etc.
The Hippies and Yippies were FAR more a bunch of conformists,than THE MAN IN THE GRAY FLANNEL SUIT types EVER were and in a FAR more detrimental way.
Emotionally repressed? Well, I guess one might claim that,since they didn't get naked,slop around in the mud,and have out in the open group sex.But,if you're going to take a silly T.V. show, as the exemplar of how everyone lived and behaved in the late '40s - the '50s,then I suggest that you are completely unaware of great swaths of knowledge.
Look at today's "entertainment" And tell me what THAT means. LOL
I'm NOT a Baby Boomer,but do alone me to state that not ALL Baby Boomers are horrible people.
You're stroking with a mighty broad brush and in doing so,ruining whatever argument you have.
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