The Greatest Generation Part I

A lot has been written about the veterans of WWII.  The values that they have, and display.  Their actions during the war, and after.  The impact that they have had not on the shaping of the United States, and really the world of the 20th and 21rst Centuries.  Of my family only my uncle was of the right age to serve during WWII, and that was late in the conflict.  So that brings me to, what about all of those that had to find an indirect way to contribute?  What were they able to do to assist?

Well over at Cmdr. Salamander, the amphibious one has a nice essay on Mickey Rooney.

While I think that we all recognize that Hollywood had a very different approach to issues of the time, I certainly never realized that Mickey Rooney, was a Bronze Star winner.

In today’s world, I think we see two primary camps going at it.  The most vocal of the camps seems to be those opposed to direct governmental / military action.  This same group, and I am over generalizing, is the one that will stage boisterous, chaotic, “made for tv” events with extreme actions to garner attention to their cause.  Often times, individuals in these groups will either take every opportunity to make their points known or they will actually violate the laws of this country through vandalism or destruction of property.  Recent examples include the activity in Berkeley and Olympia.

The second camp seems to be much more in tune with the mentality and values that were prevalent in WWII.  These are the actors, and entertainers that very quietly make their way into Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. and provide the troops with much needed distractions.  They do so with little or no fanfare.  They do so repeatedly.  They make the trips with humility, and I hope with pride.  To complement the “entertainers” is the grassroots groups that toils away daily, very quietly, and with much humility.  These are the people that are out there building the care packages, putting together the letter writing campaigns, etc.  These are groups that can be very high profile when necessary but, are generally very humble and go about their business without a lot of fanfare.  Groups like Soldiers Angels, Gathering of Eagles, The Patriot Guard Riders, etc.

So, you might be asking yourself “Where is he going with all this”?  I am not sure yet so there are no profound conclusions to be illuminated here.  I think I am going to dive into some research and see if I cannot begin pulling a short series together that may offer some supporting evidence to reach some conclusions etc.  The one thing that I will offer at this stage is that during and prior to WWII, there was certainly a portion of society that was very vocal about US isolationism and even those that believed that Nazi Germany was good for the world and the way of the future.  But, what sticks in my mind (through the history books) is the total focus of the country and the world on the war effort, and people finding every possible way to contribute in some way.  Today, not so much.  Why is that?


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