The Greatest GenerationA precious resource is slipping away from us at a rapid pace. World War II was the most significant event of the 20th century. That war and its aftermath affected every person on this planet. Now a thousand of the soldiers that bought our future die every day. The history they lived is dying with them.
If you are lucky enough to know a person of this generation, which Tom Brokaw calls our "Greatest Generation", now is the time to thank them for their service to our country. Listen to history as they lived it, you will never have another chance. These octogenarians were once young and every bit as vibrant as the youth of today, yet they gave away their youth in a titanic battle of right against wrong. It was their sacrifice that allowed all of us to live the lives of freedom over the past 70 years.
The combat soldiers of World War II were 17, 18, and 19-year-olds. Many dropped out of high school to enlist in the armed forces and defend their country. Their history is not what you read in a school book; it isn't just dates and places. Their history is about their best friend in high school that died on a volcanic speck in the Pacific Ocean called Iwo Jima. It's about leaving their hometown and family to go to boot camp at seventeen only to return four years later an old man at 21. Try to imagine celebrating your 21st birthday in a hole in the ground in the middle of a frozen forest while bombs explode all around you hoping one doesn't land in your hole. Imagine spending thirty days or more in the same clothes, no baths, no bed, no hot food, scared out of your wits, but still doing your job. This was the way many of our Greatest Generation spent their youth.
The next time an old person is ahead of you in the check-out line or hobbles along down a store aisle, engage them and thank them for all they did so you can do what you do today.