I was born in 1949, after World War II and before the start of the Korean conflict. It wasn’t until after I read Tom Brokaw’s book “The Greatest Generation” that I really began to appreciate those of you who served in those wars. It’s a book about those who went to war and those who stayed home in order to support the war. I encourage all who haven’t read it to obtain a copy for your library and read it. The New York Times says about the book, “A moving scrapbook … a tribute to the members of the World War II generation to whom we Americans and the world owe so much.” The Wall Street Journal writes, “Full of wonderful, wrenching tales of a generation of heroes. Tom Brokaw reminds us of what we are capable of as a people. An inspiring read for those who wish their spirits lifted.”
I’ve always been a bit jealous of the “greatest generation,” not that I wish to take glory away from them as I believe the deserve all they get and more. I just feel that part of my generation was great also, but we never got the credit for what we did. I’m talking about all the men and women who served in Viet Nam. They went and died in a foreign land 10,000 miles from home. The ones who did return came back to a nation who rejected them, even tried to erase the memory of what they tried to accomplish, without the backing and support of their government, I might add. I praise these men and women. I was fortunate to serve with some of the best men that I’ve ever known.
The world is in now the midst of a worldwide pandemic. It is being compared by some to a world war and I agree it has some similarities. In WW II men went off to war not knowing when it would end or if they would come home. When WW II began, America was unprepared for large-scale war and did not have the equipment that was needed. Today America is not prepared to fight this pandemic as we find ourselves short of necessary medical equipment and protective gear for hospital staff. And like WW II, we have the naysayers. People who spend all of their energy tearing down our government and its leaders. I implore you, do not listen to the negative voices. They do not have your best interest at heart.
Things are not as bad as the news media would like you to believe. Remember, “if it bleeds, it leads.” They need to scare you so you’ll tune in to tomorrow, or the next hour. News makes money; the more people tuning in, the more money.
Now it is time for Americans to step up again. We can become the next “greatest generation.” The greatest generation for the 21 century. I see people doing great and selfless things every day. People are doing things like lifting up their friends and neighbors who may be in various stages of despair with hopes of putting a smile on their faces, if only for a brief moment.
What else can we do to help end this national crisis? 1. We can realize there is a problem and accept it. 2. We can follow the President’s guidelines. He has our best interest at heart. He proves it every day by what he says and what he does. 3. We can use common sense when listening to the news. Newsmen often seek sensationalism over truth. 4. Support each other. I have had many friends and neighbors call to tell me they are going to the store and ask if there is anything I need. 5. Support local businesses. They really need our help. And when a tip is appropriate, be generous. 6. Donate blood. 8. Do not lose your sense of humor. It may be the only thing that will keep us sane. 8. Be patient. This may take a while. 9. Pray.
Lastly, those on the front lines of this “war” need our praise and support. The doctors, nurses, truck drivers, retail workers and all of those who are working in what is being called essential businesses are working for us. Like the infantrymen on the front lines of any conventional war, they are the ones in harm’s way and we need them to help us through this difficult time.
I know in my heart that if we do these things and more, when this national trial is over history will look back on this time and say about us, they were the greatest generation of the 21! century.