Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Still the "Greatest" Generation

There's been some second-guessing out there among the blogs on this Memorial Day with regard to whether or not we should have bestowed the title "The Greatest Generation" on our WWII veterans and the Americans who grew up during the pre-boomer age. Predictably this is, in large part, coming from the left side of the aisle, or as I prefer to call them, "The Sameness Coalition."  Apparently, our fathers weren't so great or they would have spent more time in therapy after they came back from the war.

"God bless 'em," as our grandmothers used to say before they criticized someone's actions or opinions. The precious snowflake generation learned their craft at the feet of second generation spoiled children of the Greatest Generation. In an effort to rub out the horror and privation of war, the Greatest Generation sought to shield their own children from the ugliness of war. They were, in a couple of words - over-protective and it shows. Their grandchildren are a gang of precious snowflakes who need safe spaces and regular counseling just to deal with the horrors of not always getting their way. 

It's hard to blame our parents for that. War is, as they say, hell and who wants your children to experience the trials the you went through. Their instinct was to protect us from all that. Leftist academics made it worse by telling us not to "stifle" our children's creativity, though Dr. Spock, not the Vulcan one, himself once expressed regret that parents may have taken him too literally after a group of protestors trashed his campus office. Our parents eagerly overprotected their kids on the advice of counsel. They'd seen the worst that man could do. Who wants their children to see that.

In our grandparents' day, one simply did not come home from the war and dump a lot of horrific stuff you experienced in battle on your loved ones. It was thought to be a parent's and especially a father's duty to stand between home and the ravening wolves that circled menacingly out in the darkness. So they took up their posts as human shields as they believed was their duty.

These were tough men and they handled their "angst" the way that American men do (or at least did). They didn't want to dump a bunch of emotional rubbish on their families. Some repressed, which is not good, but many simply handled it alone or with trusted friends. I knew an Air Force colonel who used to land C-47 on jungle strips during the Vietnam war. He said it sounded like a popcorn popper inside the plane with all the small arms fire striking the plane as they came in. He had never told his family about it. He did tell us at the day hab program he went to after his stroke. All we did was let the guys talk and talk they did. We were safe to talk to. We heard some incredible stories and many times these stories had never been heard by the children and families of these brave men.

To lessen the value of their courage simply because they didn't run home after the war looking for safe spaces and counseling is shameful, but that seems to be the direction this argument is taking us. Our fathers weren't great because they didn't express their emotions and visit therapists?  What a flying load of horse manure!
The "Greatest Generation" is not a misnomer. These guys did a hard and ugly job because they had to. They did it without self-pity and whining. They bore the burden of it with dignity.All of them believed that was how it was supposed to be done. They protected their families not only from the enemy but from the horrors of war even after the war was over and done.

I honor them for that.

© 2017 by Tom King

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