THE GREATEST GENERATION?

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I’m not about to say “my generation is greater than yours.” Whatever generation we may identify with, we all have our faults. One of those faults is rendering judgment on who is the greatest. The greatness of the so-called greatest generation is open to dispute, Tom Brokaw notwithstanding. But now that we have a Tea Party that wants to take us back to all of that, this nostalgic mythology has to be outed for what it is, bullshit. As one of their shining stars has said, “Thanks but no thanks.”

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One Response to THE GREATEST GENERATION?

  1. Mark says:

    I was born in 1955, the son of a World War II vet. I read Brokaw’s book. The title is absurd. The conceit of the book was that this was an entirely selfless generation. Why? Because they rose to the occasion and did their part to save the world and defeat Hitler. So much was made of the storming of the beaches into enemy gunfire on D-Day. I have nothing but the highest regard and the deepest gratitude for all the Allied forces and for the ones (some 9,000 I think that June day) who paid the highest sacrifice. Only because Mr. Brokaw’s theme seems to hinge on that day in June, will I ask what would otherwise sound like a grotesque question: did the U.S. soldiers have any other choice but to leave their Higgins boats and go ashore? Yes people had a shared purpose back then. Yes, neighbor looked after neighbor. And, yes there was a shared sense of community. (Actually the ‘greatest generation’ inherited those facets of American life from their ancestors.) That’s all true. But, I think a lot of the men in uniform came home with an enormous sense of entitlement. They went to night school for their college degrees on the GI Bill. They succeeded in business–at any cost. They won political office at any cost. They won whatever they wanted to win at any cost. Ultimately I think it was a generation that took far more than it ever gave. I am very sorry, but raising a family actually involves more than the sense of duty that Brokaw and so many others applaud: more than putting on your fedora and boarding the railroad to go into the city to your job everyday, while the woman of the house stayed home and does everything else. I loved my father, so this is not an ad hominem attack, but, I think that the men and women Brokaw has exalted proved themselves during the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s to be a uniquely corrupt, angry, selfish, and nearsighted generation.

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