Today Suzie-Q and I went out to the cemetery to visit my parents’ gravesite. We tidied up, replaced some old flowers with new, and then took a little quiet time. I thought about a legacy. Looking down at the final resting place for what is often referred to as the greatest generation I pondered how the legacy of my generation, the baby boomers, would measure up. I even pondered it on a personal level and what might the next generation think of me or us.
I suppose we could travel down the long trail of who did what and when, but I do not want to do that. I once participated in a seminar, the core of which was to impart that who you are depends on where you were when. Your life experiences define who you are and to a large part that also defines generations.
The people of my parent’s generation came up through the great depression. They learned the value of work especially the large percentage of Americans of the time without it, and understood the importance of providing for their families. They understood the importance of family. They understood the value of money driven by a time of less affluence. They were thrifty. The Second World War was their great challenge. Every generation has its detractors and profiteers, but for the most part Americans at home and at the war front made great sacrifices to defeat the enemy hell bent on world domination. At great cost, they won. They came home to a grateful nation and built an affluent America. It was a vision and determination from the people of that age that put a man on the moon. An American. It is safe to say they made America great. Churches were full on Sundays. No one claimed it offensive or intolerant to declare we were one nation under God. There was an audible national gasp when Clark Gable said “Frankly my dear. I don’t give a damn.”
They also started having babies, many of them. It was a baby boom. The birth of my generation.
Instead of a great depression my generation experienced relatively great affluence. Our big war was a cold one, the mission to block the expansion of communism. It was dotted with the hot ones of Korea and Vietnam, neither of which garnered the total national sacrifice of World War II. In Korea communist aggression was turned back, but the war ended in political settlement not military defeat of the enemy. Many from my generation balked at military service during the Vietnam era with protests and draft card burnings. The great generation had movie stars and the wealthy involved in the war effort. My generation had movie stars heading off to the land of our enemies to take photographs with them and make propaganda radio broadcasts directed to American Soldiers. Our wealthy were receiving multiple draft deferments or filling the bulging ranks of National Guard and Reserve units that largely never deployed to the combat zone unless they needed to build some credentials for future political endeavors. There was no big welcome home for our Vietnam War Veterans. Instead, they were blamed for the failures of politicians. Churches were much less filled on Sundays. We began rating movies based on the content of vulgarity and Mr. Gable’s big screen declaration would raise nary an eyebrow.
Where is my generation now? We are running our country. I am so proud. We are confronted by an enemy hell bent on world domination and we are unable to call him by his name. I suppose we produced the millennial generation, if I am up on my generational tag lines, fully indoctrinated with a progressive education, participation trophies and the need for safe spaces. A generation one would think based on current observations willing to totally embrace socialism because their indoctrination is completed and they missed the history lessons about the millions killed by it. Declaring we are one nation under God is just too intolerant and offensive for them to even contemplate. With vision and determination, the great achievement of my generation is going to be putting a man in a woman’s bathroom. Now that is a legacy a man can be proud of. Well maybe not just a man. I need a safe space.
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