Sunday, January 3, 2010

Heroes

This post was transferred on January 3, 2010. It was originally posted on June 1, 2009.

This is the theme for June NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month. I haven't gotten my badge on here yet, I finally figured out how to get my badge on here, and I need to get a post in so I can start off on the right foot for the month.

My first entry on the theme is for the veterans of World War II. I recently read "The Greatest Generation." When I bought it, it was with the feeling that this is one of those books that everyone should read, for their own betterment. I still feel that way. I didn't expect to be so affected by the book, though. I had to read it in bits and pieces, and the chapters are perfect for that. I read it that way because I usually can't sit and read large amounts of nonfiction in one sitting. This book was so moving that I could have read more at one time, but there were some parts that made me cry. An account of the first troops to land at Omaha beach on D-Day, some stepped on mine and had one or both legs blown off, but had the presence of mind to direct those who followed and tell them where to step. I cried.

I think there is a tendency between people of different ages to discount those significantly older or younger on the basis that "they wouldn't understand." I found this out when I was training a woman who was older than me at a convenience store - I had worked there longer and the manager apparently had confidence that I knew what I was doing. But the trainee did things her own way, not how I taught her. I can only think she did it because I was younger and she "knew better" even though I followed my training and she didn't. Going the other way, we might consider those of the older generation to have "had their time" and they don't understand what we are going through now.

That generation had been tempered by the Great Depression, followed by war. The current generation had war which is now followed by a great recession. The earlier war led to a kind of prosperity - manufacturers geared up for production to provide the means to win. Our recession is causing great cutbacks across many aspects of our lives. Today General Motors filed for bankruptcy.

There is a saying by George Santayana: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." I think we can learn important lessons from the past, not only how to avoid bad situations but how to survive them. I know I need to apply frugal principles to my life, but I hate the effort or the idea of depriving myself. It's a personal failing.

Anyway, with Memorial Day just past, I do want to give credit to the generation who came of age during World War II. They stepped in to save the world from a dark fate. Then they came home to build their lives. We do owe them a great debt, and we owe it to them to not give up the fight.

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