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Uncommonly Sensible

Keeping the "anal" in analytical... (While trying to remain civilized)

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Monday, May 09, 2005

"The Greatest Generation"


AP: MOSCOW - World leaders whose countries faced off on the battlefields of World War II paid tribute Monday to the fallen soldiers and millions of civilian dead, joining Russian President Vladimir Putin on Red Square for a lavish military parade celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany.

Yesterday, May 8th, was the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.

Amid much pomp and circumstance, the world took the time out of its busy schedule to commemorate the occasion.

U.S. President Bush stood shoulder to shoulder with French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder while Russian President Putin gave a speech; all the differences regarding the war in Iraq were put aside, at least for the day, as the latter three were the most vocal objectors to a U.S.-led intervention in Saddam Hussein's regime.
(Perhaps the fact that they were all selling him military hardware influenced their respective positions, but I digress)

What I'm really thinking about is how much has changed in the world in those 60 years. It was a simpler time in 1945...no cable or satellite television; no satellites or televisions at all, in fact. The Information Age hadn't even been conceived of, newspapers and radios were the "state-of-the-art" on the communications frontier. Telephones were available, though not as ubiquitous as they are today, and a lot of people who did have phones shared party lines. The Internet? Who could have envisioned the impact of this particular medium?!

The war effort had introduced many women to the work force, due to the shortage of able-bodied men, who had gone off to fight the war. Only the lucky ones returned. These men and women were actually first referred to as "The Greatest Generation" by Tom Brokaw, NBC anchorman, in a book he wrote about them with that title.

The fact of the matter is that "The Greatest Generation" is dying off now at an accelerating pace. Once that pre-Baby Boomer Generation is gone, all that will remain are the successive generations of increasingly self-centered, spoiled individuals who have found it all too easy to forget the sacrifices of their predecessors...being too busy pursuing their own happiness.

I am certainly not innocent of this attitude. Although I did serve in the Armed Forces, it was a "kindler, gentler" version of the military my forebears knew. I still have one of their helmets; the "doughboy" variety from WW I...the war to end all wars. If only!

I would urge everyone who knows or has known one or more members of "The Greatest Generation", to spend some time thinking about these things. I was lucky enough to spend some time with two of them (my parents) just yesterday. And if any other members of "The Greatest Generation" happen to read this, I was thinking about you when I typed it, too. Thanks...

30 Comments:

Blogger 'da Bunny said...

Excellent post, camojack. And, I say "THANK YOU" to all those who were a part of the "Greatest Generation", also. God Blessed America through your acts of bravery and sacrifice.

May 09, 2005 11:53 AM  
Blogger Kajun said...

1945--No TV

Also: no new cars (from '42-'46, no new tires, no sugar, no new shoes, 10 gallons of gasoline per month (I think-maybe less), no air conditioning, no electricity outside of cities, no 4 lane highways, no AIDS, (almost) no atheists, no deoderant, no Summers Eve...

May 09, 2005 12:05 PM  
Blogger kwl said...

And think about what the 'Greatest Generation' saw in their lifetime. From horse and buggy to the ones still living now. And we have to thank many of those of the 'Greatest Generation' because if it were not of their great sacrifices, many of the technologies we enjoy today would not exist. Many of the technologies that would have made it would not be accessible to the masses.
We owe so much, and how do we show it.

May 09, 2005 1:18 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

'da Bunny said...
Excellent post, camojack. And, I say "THANK YOU" to all those who were a part of the "Greatest Generation", also. God Blessed America through your acts of bravery and sacrifice.


Well, thank you for that! Very well said.

Kajun News said...
1945--No TV
Also: no new cars (from '42-'46, no new tires, no sugar, no new shoes, 10 gallons of gasoline per month (I think-maybe less), no air conditioning, no electricity outside of cities, no 4 lane highways, no AIDS, (almost) no atheists, no deoderant, no Summers Eve...


Oh yes, so many things that are a "given" nowadays simply didn't exist then; a comprehensive list would go on and on and...

kwl said...
And think about what the 'Greatest Generation' saw in their lifetime...
We owe so much, and how do we show it.


There have been more technological advances in the last hundred years than there were in the thousand years preceding them...and not only do we take those things for granted, what's worse is taking these people of the aforementioned "Greatest Generation" for granted as well.

May 09, 2005 4:22 PM  
Blogger Hawkeye® said...

I'm happy to say that my dad and all three of his brothers made it safe and sound through WWII. One of my uncles served on a sub. Two of my uncles were in the infantry and went from Africa to Anzio to Southern France. My dad was in the Pacific... Burma Road. We have been blessed that they all came home. And none of them ever had any qualms about doing the right thing.

May 09, 2005 9:58 PM  
Blogger Hawkeye® said...

BTW, I never really noticed this before, but if you look closely at my picture, all I need is a cigar and I could say things like...

That's the silliest thing I ever hoid.

I once shot an elephant in my pajamas... How he got in my pajamas I'll never know.

Can't you see what I'm trying to say? ...I LOVE you!

May 09, 2005 10:05 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

Hawkeye® said:
I'm happy to say that my dad and all three of his brothers made it safe and sound through WWII...


I'm sure you know that they really beat the odds; so many who went to war never came back...which is another reason we should be grateful to all of them.

Hawkeye® also said:
BTW, I never really noticed this before, but if you look closely at my picture, all I need is a cigar and...


Yes...and I wouldn't want to join any club that would have me as a member, either.

May 10, 2005 12:13 AM  
Blogger mig said...

My grandmother was a nurse and her brother, Uncle Herb, was in the Pacific. He was captured by the Japanese and went to the Philipines. He survived thier camps and thier death marches. They put all the boys on unmarked ships and we bombed them thinking they were supply ships. So they are now they are buried at sea. My great grandmother had a home for the boys that would come to train in San Diego. They would go to her house on weekends and stuff for hot meals and bible readings. She wrote alot of poetry about the boys she met.

May 10, 2005 6:06 AM  
Blogger Pat'sRick© said...

Thanks, Jack, for such a touching post and a good reflection on the leaders celebrating the end of the "Great Patriotic War" in Russia. Wonder what Schoeder was thinking during Putin's speech?

May 10, 2005 7:07 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

mig said...
My grandmother was a nurse and her brother, Uncle Herb, was in the Pacific. He was captured by the Japanese and went to the Philipines. He survived... My great grandmother had a home for the boys that would come to train in San Diego. They would go to her house on weekends and stuff for hot meals and bible readings. She wrote alot of poetry about the boys she met.


More excellent examples of why they deserve to be called "The Greatest Generation"; thanks for sharing that.

Pat'sRick said...
Thanks, Jack, for such a touching post and a good reflection on the leaders celebrating the end of the "Great Patriotic War" in Russia. Wonder what Schoeder was thinking during Putin's speech?


Ah, but don't thank me...thank those who sacrificed so much for liberty, including the ones still doing it today.

As for what Schroeder was thinking, it was probably something like "I wish people would quit staring at me!"
(But in Deutsch, of course)

May 10, 2005 7:39 AM  
Blogger MargeinMI said...

Very touching post Camojack.

My grandfather served as an Army Chaplain in the South Pacific. He tended the soldiers spiritual needs and buried the dead. My son's middle name is for him.

God Bless them all.

May 10, 2005 9:05 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

MargeinMI said...
Very touching post Camojack.
My grandfather served as an Army Chaplain in the South Pacific. He tended the soldiers spiritual needs and buried the dead. My son's middle name is for him.
God Bless them all.


If this was a contest, you would win for best sentiment.

God Bless them all is right!!!

May 10, 2005 9:15 AM  
Blogger imagoner said...

Many times I have wished I could go back in time and be born then, or better yet a few hundred years ago, or better yet to a different plane of existance alltogher. I ponder deeply at times how some people in this world can be so sick.

Have you seen "Hotel Rawanda"? I was so very moved by that movie, and infuriated that our troops (gotta love 'em) are over in Iraq fighting for our president's selfish reasoning (or so it seems), when they could be stopping the mass murder--aka genocide---of millions who can't defend themselves. But hey, the only thing we'd get out of it would be to save lives, no oil...

BTW--you look uncommonly familiar to me...

May 10, 2005 1:43 PM  
Blogger 'da Bunny said...

There was mass murder---aka genocide---of people who couldn't defend themselves from Saddam Hussein in Iraq, too, "queenie." Why are you wasting time posting with conservatives? Isn't there an anti-war "protest" somewhere that you're missing? You've come to the wrong place to engage in your Bush-bashing, and you are ALREADY on a "different plane of existence altogether." One lacking in reality.

May 10, 2005 9:45 PM  
Blogger Kajun said...

While reading about the observance of "The Patriotic War" in Russia, I couldn't help noticing that some of the participants , Bush and Putin, to name a few, weren't even born by the end of WW-2 (a little Archie Bunker lingo there).

The war touched most US families...just look how many Veterans were mentioned here in a few postings.

My only remaining uncle is a WWII Vet, also my oldest Brother-in-law...one of my cousins...all are 80 or older. Two more uncles who survived that war, have since died of old age.

May 10, 2005 10:59 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

Dark and Beautiful Queen O of Ea:
Interesting moniker; your self-esteem is intact, apparently. That's a good thing.

Sometimes I think it would be interesting to live amongst my Native American ancestors, but then my Caucasian ancestors would come along and give me Smallpox or something...or just kill me outright.

I haven't seen "Hotel Rwanda", but if the truth be known, I pray for the people there daily. Unfortunately, our military forces are spread a bit thin right now, and in a sense you are right about selfish reasoning...self-preservation is selfish, after all.

Regarding the "Blood for Oil" theory, I would point out that we haven't seen any of the benefits of that at the pump; quite the reverse, in fact. I might be inclined to think that the artificially inflated prices we've been being charged by OPEC are in retribution for the war in Iraq, but I happen to know it's because of the exponentially increased demand for oil by China..."Supply and Demand", Economics 101. I would recommend you read the following editorial:
Blood for oil? by Victor Davis Hanson

As for my looking familiar, I live in PA, but get around a lot. Perhaps you've attended Daytona, Myrtle Beach, Laconia or Sturgis Bike Weeks?

'da Bunny:
You know I love ya, and I know your heart is in the right place, but remember the adage "you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar".

Facts, not rhetoric...OK?

May 11, 2005 12:10 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

Kajun News said...
While reading about the observance of "The Patriotic War" in Russia, I couldn't help noticing that some of the participants , Bush and Putin, to name a few, weren't even born by the end of WW-2 (a little Archie Bunker lingo there).
The war touched most US families...just look how many Veterans were mentioned here in a few postings.
My only remaining uncle is a WWII Vet, also my oldest Brother-in-law...one of my cousins...all are 80 or older. Two more uncles who survived that war, have since died of old age.


Excellent observation about the ages of Bush and Putin; for them, and many of us as well, WWII is an abstract concept from the history books...and stories told by/about friends and relatives. My parents are old enough to remember that time, but were too young to contribute to the war effort. I know my paternal grandfather was adversely affected by something (chemicals or diseases) related to handling dead bodies during WWII, and am told he was the longest surviving member of that particular detail, but he still died when my father was a teenager. Consequently, I never met him...

May 11, 2005 12:22 AM  
Blogger 'da Bunny said...

Of course, you're right camo. Hard for me to keep the "red stuff" from hitting the "boiling point" sometimes, especially when I hear the same old tired "no blood for oil" routine. Just wish the anti-America crowd would learn a new trick! :-)

May 11, 2005 7:19 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

'da Bunny:
There was a time when I was young and idealistic; but the more I learned about the way things really work, the less inclined I was to believe what I was told by "certain sources".

Once upon a time I was quite apolitical, and still retain some cynicism/skepticism...I have yet to utterly abandon my "Question Authority" mindset, and doubt I ever will. A little bit of that is healthy, I think.

Did you check out the article?

May 11, 2005 9:06 AM  
Blogger MargeinMI said...

Thanks camojack! My grandparents were exceptional people. AFTER retiring, they were active in VISTA (in Mexico and Texas), Habitat for Humanity (in Africa), and then in their mid 70's moved back to one acre of the original homestead in Kansas.

My grandfather built a house, and then they sponsered Laotian refugees. At the time of my grandmother's death, there was a community of approximately 300 people living and working and learning English in this tiny Kansas town. They all attended my Grandmother's funeral.

Re: Victor Davis Hanson

He's GREAT! Thank goodness I found him about the time Steven denBeste stopped writing! You should add his Private Papers to your blogroll.

May 11, 2005 9:25 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

MargeinMI:
Don't thank me! Just calling them as I see 'em. You grandparents certainly sound exceptional...genuine examples of faith in action. They "walked the walk", instead of just "talked the talk". Just the kind of folks that made their generation deserving of being called great.

And as for Victor Hanson's "Private Papers"? Your wish is my command. Done deal...

May 11, 2005 9:56 AM  
Blogger MargeinMI said...

Not only does VDH post a new editorial a couple of times a week, he also has other great thinkers/writers on his site.

Check back and read the letters from Saudi Arabia. Frightening.

Also, Bill Whittle is getting ready to launch a new essay entitled, "Sanctuary." If it is keeping with his previous essays, it'll be a MUST READ. I'm waiting for the hardcopy of his book "Silent America" to come out. It's something I want on my bookshelf at a moment's reach, permanently! Check him out if you don't already know: www.ejectejecteject.com

It's worth your time.

May 11, 2005 9:02 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

MargeinMI:
I'll have to look at that stuff; I have "Eject!, etc." bookmarked, but there are just so many good sites out there, and my time is limited to 16 or so waking hours per day.

I try to check out Jewish World Review daily, as it is an excellent "clearing house" of contemporary thought...if you aren't already, I would highly recommend subscribing to that, along with The Federalist Patriot; both of which can be linked from here.
(Here being this comment, and this blog)

May 12, 2005 1:00 AM  
Blogger mk77 said...

Nice place here, Camojack. Great stuff!

I'm looking forward to seeing "The Power of Nightmares", just opening in Cannes.

Curtis argues that politicians such as Bush and Blair have stumbled on a new force that can restore their power and authority - the fear of a hidden and organised web of evil from which they can protect their people. In a still-traumatised US, those with the darkest nightmares have become the most powerful and Curtis's film castigates the media, security forces and the Bush administration for extending their power in this way.

"It has really touched a nerve with people who realise something is not quite right with the way terrorism has been reported."

For these reasons, one might well think that The Power of Nightmares would provide a usefully chastening corrective to the prevailing orthodoxy if it were shown on US television.

But it seems extremely unlikely that it will be. While a two-and-a-half -hour film version is to be given a prime-time Cannes screening, and while the original three-hour series will be shown tonight on al-Jazeera along with a live interview with the director, US telly has run scared from showing it.

"Something extraordinary has happened to American TV since September 11," says Curtis. "A head of the leading networks who had better remain nameless said to me that there was no way they could show it. He said, 'Who are you to say this?' and then he added, 'We would get slaughtered if we put this out.'"

Surely a relatively enlightened broadcaster like HBO would show it? "When I was in New York I took a DVD to the head of documentaries at HBO. I still haven't heard from him." He has little hope that he will.

May 14, 2005 6:37 AM  
Blogger hooey said...

Camojack = camouflage + Jack. Camouflage is a French word. Camojacques?

May 14, 2005 7:12 PM  
Blogger hooey said...

Or is that Camoujacques?

May 14, 2005 7:15 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

MK77 said:
I'm looking forward to seeing "The Power of Nightmares", just opening in Cannes.
Curtis argues that politicians such as Bush and Blair have stumbled on a new force that can restore their power and authority - the fear of a hidden and organised web of evil from which they can protect their people.


Do you really think Bush and Blair stumbled onto something? I'm more inclined to think they are the ones who finally decided to take action against terrorism; of course, the events of 9-11-01 were exponentially more devastating to the U.S. than a few hostages held in Iran, an embassy in another country or a ship in a foreign port being bombed. These terrorist groups are somewhat hidden and organized, and certainly not imaginary. I definitely believe it's better to engage them on their own "turf" pre-emptively, rather than wait for the next strike on American soil. To be perfectly honest, when I voted for Bush in 2000, I was voting more against what I perceived as the continuation of the corrupt Clinton administration. After 9-11-01, I felt that Bush really proved himself, so in 2004 I really saw no choice but to vote for him again...

howie said:
Camojack = camouflage + Jack. Camouflage is a French word. Camojacques?


Correct. My Harley riding buddies started calling me "Camo" because of the type of pants I wear, which I started wearing when I was in the Army. (They're quite comfortable) My name is Jack, so I put them together for my screen name. The word camouflage is indeed French in origin, but the English language is a hodgepodge of many other languages...

May 15, 2005 6:15 PM  
Blogger LebenFrei said...

Your commentary is a great testimony to the Greatest Generation. I have read many books about WWII including all of those by Stephen Amborse. There must be thousands of books written about WWII. Check out http://home.att.net/~newbooks/WWIIbooks.html for a listing of WWII books, I have a way to go before I get through all of them. It never ceases to amaze me that men could endure through such horrific conditions, yet continue to serve their country so well. So many men and women died for the liberty we now enjoy. Words cannot convey the awe which I have for the men and women who served in such a sacrificial manner. Their bravery in the face of such terrifying circumstances is impossible to fathom. I believe that our current military forces deserve the same respect and honor due to the veterans of WWII. Someday, I would like to go overseas to witness the places that I have read so much about. It would be a humbling and awe inspiring experience I know. Unfortunately, Americans are not very welcome in Europe so it is doubtful that I shall go any time soon. I thank God for all those who have ever served or are currently serving in the military, especially those of the Greatest Generation. Thank you camojack for remembering them and bringing them to our attention on the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII.

May 15, 2005 7:13 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

LebenFrei
Thanks. FYI, I've traveled in Europe; France, Germany, Italy, etc. Just like anywhere, people are people...some good, some bad, others indifferent. It helps if you at least make an attempt to speak their language, it tends to dispel the all too common perception of the "Ugly American". Most of the conflict is on a more governmental level. I've met a lot of nice folks in Asia, Australia and Europe...

May 15, 2005 7:25 PM  
Blogger SGT USMC 1ea said...

howie is shedding some of his previous faux ignorance....go howie.

Ooh Mk77...not *shudder* "The Power of Nightmares"

Reminiscent of Oooooh..Buggadabuggadabugguda...The Draft!.....Shriek!!!!!!

Pauvre Jacques will surely be scarred.

Thanks..LOL

Jesu est Semper Fidelis

May 18, 2005 6:00 AM  

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