My parents’ generation, the people who lived through the Great Depression and who volunteered to fight in World War II, have rightfully been dubbed The Greatest Generation for their strength and sacrifice.
And they are quickly dying off.
I can’t help but wonder if our nation’s demise is directly tied to their demise. They embodied the soul of this country. Who is filling the void left by them?
The Greatest Generation knew the value of sacrifice, of hard work, of the importance of faith and the love of family.
They understood that the world doesn’t revolve around them, but instead they were simply a piece of the puzzle within it and it was up to them to determine how important of a piece they would become.
Their reliance on faith and the wisdom of God’s holy teachings resulted in their generation making solid, often selfless decisions.
They understood that our nation’s greatest asset was the dreams of its citizens and that nothing, especially the government, should impede the force of those dreams.
They valued hard work and understood that money’s primary goal was to provide for the family, not indulge in frivolous wants.
They seemed to live by the motto “it’s better to die for something than of something,” taking national pride seriously and offering their lives, if necessary, for the safety of their family and their country.
Above all else, their generation understood that sacrifice is a part of life and that, sometimes, it is YOU that must sacrifice so that those important to you may have a better life.
They realized that NOT spending money, but saving it, felt much better than spending it all now and needing more of it later.
They held themselves and others to a strong code of accountability, understanding that those who make the right decisions ought to be rewarded and those who make the wrong decisions ought suffer the consequences to their actions.
They also knew the pleasure of giving instead of receiving, sacrificing food and materials in war time, so that their loved ones fighting overseas would have the best the nation could offer them.
This Greatest Generation was not perfect, however.
After years of struggle, they found themselves enjoying the fruits of their labors, embracing the economic boom of the ’50s, determined to give their children a better life. They did this, it appears, without effectively relating what it cost them to give them this better life. Or perhaps its simply that their “old” ways could not fight the tidal wave of economic excess and the new morality of personal gratification that came along with it.
Those children of the 60s grew up with a sense of entitlement, of little appreciation for the value of sacrifice nor an appreciation for what makes this nation so great. They became the generation of “me” and changed the direction of this nation from selfless sacrifice to selfish indulgence… “If it feels good do it and someone else will compensate for your mistakes.”
My generation, from the 70s, grew up seeing the beginnings of this wayward path.
Divorce rates skyrocketed and the value of the family has evaporated.
Birth control was chosen over self control and unexpected pregnancies increased dramatically which, by default, turned us into a nation of child killers, where we now murder thousands of unborn children a day in abortion mills across the country.
We saw the seeds of complacency as people of faith started talking the talk, but no longer were willing to walk the walk.
We saw Church leaders embrace this more relaxed, carefree notion of the world and stopped teaching the dangers of sin and the real potential of Hell and instead focused on how we “felt” about God. Not surprisingly, church attendance has plummeted.
Now, most of the Greatest Generation have died and the rest do not have long to go.
Who will teach the next generation the value of sacrifice, the importance of family and the reliance on faith?
I hope it is our’s. Dear Lord, I hope it is our’s.