Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Greatest Generation

I have read this book twice along with "The Greatest Generation Speaks"

Day after day, I am consistently amazed at the hardships and tough lives our parents had. This is the thing I have been thinking about lately, from some reason. I guess that when I think about my daughter moving away, it saddens me as it should. But, oh my, how lucky I am that I never had to endure what our folks did. Let me put this in perspective if I can. My brother was born in 1948, at that time, my mom was 22. Being born in 1926 on a dirt farm in the middle of nowhere was not conducive to fostering a happy, structured lifestyle, especially when her dad would get drunk and mean. I digress. She was 19 in 1945 when her boyfriend was called away to war and never returned. The strength and guts it took to drop everything and have her and vitually everyone in the country united in one cause overwhelms me. Some of the men and women returned, enjoyed a couple of safe (and prosporous) years then The Korean war (and the prospect of going to war with China) appeared with more young men and women dying. From 1953- 1965 or so, peace and prosperity pretty much ruled the land, but by then, it was the Russians that had us running and hiding under our desks. How did the country pay The Greatest Generation back? We sent their kids to Vietnam.

I remember very vividly when my brother left for Vietnam. We had to drive him to the airport in Springfield about an hour away. It was very cold that day. It was one of only two times I saw my father cry; it was one of the worst days of my life. I just remember how tortured my mother was and how she quickly descended into the bottle after that. Some payback for your blood, sweat and tears.

My long extended point is this: while it sucks that my daughter is leaving, I know that she is leaving to experience things I did not in a wonderful college setting. I am not sending her to war or to a place that is extremely far away, for that I am eternally grateful. She is going away to find herself. I only wish her a life as fun as mine has been. My hat is off and my heart is open to those of the Greatest Generation.

I look to them and what they went through as inspiration and encouragement. The sacrifices (I lived down the street from a woman who lost her husband in WWII and her son in Vietnam) will always inspire my heart. Always. God bless them.

What I am going through isn't a pimple on their butts.

1 comment:

Barbinkc said...

My Dad served during the Korean war. He wouldn't talk about it when I would ask him questions - until the last year (his health is failing so perhaps he feels like he can share these things now, I don't know). Apparently he had a friend in the army who was captured and tortured before his death. They pulled all his finger and toe nails out with a pair of pliers.

Those who rally loudest for war, in my opinion, don't know what they're talking about. What a terrifying, horrifying thing it must be to live and fight in a war zone. Those who come back sane are surely our strongest.

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