Appreciating all that makes America special

Americana: The Greatest Generation

The Greatest Generation by crowleydave38My father was one of millions of American men and women who fought in World War II. He served in North Africa, then advanced through Sicily, Corsica, Italy, and into Paris. He attained the rank of sergeant, and I’m not sure he even wanted that.

Thank God, he made it back. But so many others didn’t. They gave their lives at Pearl Harbor, or Normandy, or on Iwo Jima. They were so young and scared, but they knew the threat our country faced. And we today live blessed lives in security because of their service. They were part of a generation that stared evil in the face, and didn’t back down. Not just the men who fought, but the women here at home who worked, managed the ration coupons, and raised the families. If only we had their strength. If only we could display their unwavering belief in our country.

My dad never talked much about his wartime experiences, but he and his Army buddies held an annual reunion until there weren’t enough of them left to reunite. It’s hard for me to believe that this worldwide conflict happened just a few years before I was born, and I didn’t develop a curiosity about it until after my father died. I never really got to discuss his experiences in depth. Now, when I consider some of the horrible things my father must have witnessed, I wish I’d appreciated him more, as a father and as a man.

Is there a member of the greatest generation in your life? If so, now is the time to say “Thank you. Thank you for all of your sacrifices.” You won’t have much longer.

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  1. My dad was part of that generation as well. He was a radio operator on a troop transport plane in Europe. He liked to tell war stories, but I was too young and ignorant to want to listen. Only after he died and I went through his things did I discover papers documenting this heroism and that of his unit. He was a staff sergeant, and proud of it. Even when Alzheimer’s disease robbed him of his memories of his family, he could still remember morse code. Thank you, Daddy, for your service and sacrifice.

  2. Great post. My grandfather was one of those who never talked about his war experience. BTW – William Zinnser writes about his war experience in North Africa & Italy in his book “Writing about your life.” Just read this the other day.