Why the Greatest Generation was Great

Tom Brokaw wrote The Greatest Generation, published in 1998. Tom once lived in the little town of Bristol, South Dakota. Bristol was founded by Tom's great-grandfather and is still considered this writer's "home town." Although we moved from Bristol in 1937 to grandmother Hulett's native Michigan, those of us reared in the thirties and forties tend to identify with "small town America" and appreciate the Greatest Generation. We need to remind ourselves of what made that generation great and recapture the American spirit of that time.

 Mr. Brokaw argues that, that generation was motivated, not by fame and recognition, but because it was the "right thing to do." However, too many of us have lost the concept of right and wrong. We are no longer horrified by homosexualism or humiliated by scandal in the family. Honor and integrity are no longer expected of our elected officials and teachers. The sweet odor of moral decay sweeps across the land and we no longer find it repugnant.

 In that generation, children were relatively innocent. When my sister, Pat, was born in Bristol, two things come to mind: (1) Although I was seven or eight, I never noticed mother was even pregnant. One morning, Dad simply announced with pride, I had a sister. But then, who wants a sister? (2) I assumed the stork brought her (or it). I had seen pictures of storks in books, complete with a diaper held baby. However, I do not believe there was a single stork in the entire state of South Dakota at the time.

 On the other hand, we knew lying was wrong. George Washington refused to lie about chopping down the cherry tree. Was it Achilles, hero of the battle of Troy, that refused to lie, even to his enemies? We could chant, "Liar, liar, pants on fire," when a fellow student told a "whopper." If that were not enough, Walt Disney came along in 1940 and presented Pinocchio who could become real if he told the truth. Besides, his nose grew longer every time he told a fib. In court, we not only swore on the Bible (politically incorrect today -- however, using the Koran would be OK), but promised to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Telling the truth was a matter of honor and integrity.

Then there was Pearl Harbor -- December 7, 1941. The family was gathered at Uncle Stanley's house when the news came over WWJ in Detroit. America was now awake and took on the enemies of Democracy. America was a nation based on the Bible and seeped in Scripture and God was with us. We took up arms, as one, because it was the right thing to do.

 Then there was 9-11. The Twin Towers went down. We watched in horror as Muslim terrorists launched their cowardly attack on America and Christianity. It was a devastating blow. This is a new kind of war -- such as we have not known in the past BUT it is a war none the less. Jihad is not a war against democracy, but against Christian infidels and decadent Western Civilization.

 America's response today is ho-hum or so what? The Greatest Generation faced tyranny and won. We now face Muslim terrorism but will we carry the battle to the enemy for God and country; or will we submit to Sharia Law and confess Mohamad as our Prophet instead of Christ? The black and white world of the Greatest Generation was based on the Bible. Today, the Bible, as our moral compass has been cast aside, and we as in the days of the Judges (Judges 17:6) tend to do that which is right in our own eyes. The words of Isaiah apply, "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20).

 Dale I. Royal, Elk City, OK