Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Greatest Generation

Yesterday I went to the funeral of my Great Uncle Mel. I remember this man as a laughing jovial man. When I was a tiny girl he would pick me up and let me rub his flat top back and forth "for luck". He always let me sit on his lap and play with the cb radio he listened to and we would talk to the truckers out there. His wife my Great Aunt (and grandma's sister) passed away several years ago. Each of her sisters has passed away and the only one left alive is my grandmother. An entire generation of our family has nearly become extinct.

This realization had me contemplating how the greatest generation is all slowly slipping from our world. It is just one person at a time and a great history of ours is slipping away from us. Why was this generation of 80-90 year olds called the greatest generation?

  1. They were children/teens or early 20's during the Great Depression. This gave them perseverance. The great depression lasted from the late 20s to early 40s. This taught many of them how to make do with what they had. Be creative, and resourceful. It also taught them that you get more in life when you work together. Whole groups of people lived together in communities to pool their resources. In other words people Helped One Another!
  2. They were the adults of the World War II era. These men went off to valiantly fight a war against a tyrant that tried to take over the world. This generation of women changed the world for all women by going into the work force during the war effort. 
  3. Not only did women work in the work force they were nurses and some even went into the Military.
Is it any wonder that these were the Greatest Generation? These men and women achieved great things in their time and they are slowly slipping from our world. If you have anyone left in your family from this generation talk to them. Get their stories ask them about the time they grew up in. What was the Great Depression really like? What were some of the main meals their family survived on during that time? Did They work in a factory, or were they in the war? Honor them.

Something strikes me as I ponder these things. Our children are growing up during a Depression. This may not be as severe as the Great Depression but things are not getting better as fast as politicians would like us to believe they are. The population of people who are still unemployed is growing, and more and more families are finding themselves put out of homes. I hope that I am doing my children a service by showing them how to persevere during this difficult time, I hope that they grow up to be great people and I hope that we are all learning from the history that is not so distant past.

My grandmother is 90 years old. She is not an easy person to talk to because she does not always remember what shes talking about, or if she told you the same thing 3 times or not. I do not see her often but I am grateful for all her generation did. I hope to learn from them and I hope to honor them.


  1. My parents were of that generation. They displayed many of the qualities you mention here. They were frugal from having lived through the G.D., and tough from having lost loved ones in the war. They had tough times but it never occurred to them to divorce. My father worked hard so my mother could stay home with the kids; my mother worked hard to make his salary go as far as possible.

    Life wasn't about being happy for them. They learned to be content and tried to teach us to be that way too. Personal happiness or "fulfillment" was not part of their vocabulary. They would be appalled at the attitudes of people today, and at most of our political leadership. Sometimes I am glad that they are dead so they don't have to see how far we have fallen.

  2. I quite agree. Some of my best values are those that came out of the Great Depression, via my parents and grandparents.

    I too, think about the current depression, and how we are not responding the same way, as a group. Maybe in the future, there will be a clearer picture of how we are rising to this challenge.

    Great topic!

  3. I think as a whole our generations are not doing great during this depression either. I am working to teach my children some of the values that were so strong from that bygone era. We personally have been hit hard by the loss of job and income. Life has been a real struggle and we have done away with a lot of extras in life and have really worked to come together with our friends and help out where we can. It is a real struggle but we are coming to a point where the real value is that I have learned to homeschool for free, we have cut our carbon foot print simply because we can not afford to travel great distances, and we share our meals with our neighbors as often as we can because its cheaper to make a big pot of soup with a few ingredients then it is to make separate meals on our own.