The Greatest Generation
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He was a proud man, his once dark hair now as white as winter snow, his medals pinned to his chest, gleaming in the afternoon sun as he saluted the flag and acknowledged his peers, walking or being pushed in their wheelchairs, in the memorial day parade.
He himself, as honorary Grand Marshall, had ridden in an open lead car, too old and feeble to walk the lengthy boulevard, to lead the parade. To his dismay, he observed that, like last year…and the year before that…there were fewer observers lining the streets of his hometown, and sadly, even fewer young people interested enough to cheer them on.
Gone were the days when the crowds jostled each other to get a glimpse of a hometown hero… father, husband or brother…or even saluted the flag as it went by! These were not the dashing young men of this war, but the rag tag remnants of a vague war that they briefly studied in their history class in high school.
Thus, this generation of fighting men…the Greatest Generation…so called, are leaving us at the rate of 2000 men a day… just a footnote to a war that was suppose to end all wars Sixty Five years ago. Appalling!
Were it not for these brave and patriotic men, the world as we know it today, would not exist. There would be no ipods, tv’s, sleek cars, or the freedom to attend the college of their choice. There would be no carefree childhood, or the freedom to come and go as they pleased. They would not have the choice to follow their dreams for the future, as that would be determined by the government who would have control of them from infancy. Free will would be non-existent for the masses…they would be born and die for said government.
World War 2 was not a war against a country, but for life as we know it! It has been called the greatest war for good reason. No other war in history was fought for the survival of a free and stable existence for all mankind, as opposed to fighting for territory between countries. Even the civil war was fought to free the slaves in this country, not for freedom for the world.
It is only fitting that we pay tribute to these warriors before they and their comrades go to their final rest, and show our gratitude for a job well done and resolve to commit their sacrifices to memory, so that we will be ever vigilant to maintain the freedoms that they so gallantly fought and gave their lives for.
Take a moment to visit them in a veteran’s home, or encourage your children to talk to grandpa about his exploits…which by the way…the majority of them were reluctant to talk about for most of their lives…as they lived with the memories of the fierce battles they engaged in, along with the unspeakable horror of the victims of the death camps they encountered on that jubilant day of victory!
These stories must not be allowed to die with them, but should be recorded so that this generation will know how privileged they are to live in the land of the free and be just as motivated to preserve this precious gift of freedom that they have inherited.
Copyright 2010 Beatrice Boyle
(All rights reserved)