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Eamonn

The Greatest Generation

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I have just finished watching the ceremony dedicating the WWII Memorial in Washington D.C.

The ceremony itself was wonderful.The music moved me and yes I shed a tear when Taps was played.

Washington D.C. Never looked better the sun was out and there was just enough wind to give a lift to the flags.

The speeches were well written, well delivered and I think given from the hearts that those who delivered them.

I missed the war. I didn't arrive on the planet till 1955. I remember hearing people talk about the war. There were of course tales of great bravery and valor, tales of hardship and rationing.

There were no gray areas we, the Brits and you the yanks were the good guys and they. They were the enemy, the Hun, the bad guys.

Even as a young Lad I heard and knew that we couldn't and wouldn't have made it without you the Americans.

But the thing that struck me today wasn't the flags or the music or Tom Hanks.

What struck me was the Veterans in the crowd. I watched at one old boy saluted the flag his hand shaking. The poor old Lad who held his walker as the band played the National Anthem.

The Mall was filled with thousands of the Veterans.

I watched as one little old Lady gave her husband a Kleenex to wipe his eyes.

What struck me was that I knew these guys. These were the generation that my father belonged too.

When I looked at them I seen my Dad.

These were the "No fuss no muss" guys. The men who rolled up their sleeves and got the job done.

Dad had worked at RAF bases during the war, he had worked with a great many Americans. He said that he had never met so many people who claimed to be Irish outside of Ireland. When my Dad met my wifes Dad they became friends in an instant. They had long conversations about war time food and American cigarettes.

In the days to come I hope to visit the monument. I hope it will be with a group of kids. I know that no matter how I try I will never be able to put into words my feelings for what really was The Greatest Generation.

Thanks.

Eamonn

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Amen, Eamonn.

 

I missed the dedication, but will not miss the memorial.

 

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. It is a time to thank the veterans of all conflicts.

 

Hats off to the Greatest Generation. I shudder to think of what the world would look like if they had failed.

 

Thank you to all veterans of all branches of service.

 

Unc.

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Lived through the depression and won WWII. Yes, they were (are) the greatest. Both of my parents have passed away but were both NAVY during WWII and my father in Korea too.

 

I saw Bob Dole and George McGovern on TV today. Both had so much class as elder statesmen and WWII vets. No petty politics from them at this time. I heard something like out of 16 million WWII veterans, on 4 million remain.

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God Bless Them for the hell they went through.

 

If you have a young Life Scout seeking an Eagle Project, collecting the oral histories of these great men is an ongoing project of the Library of Congress. Your local American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars posts will help you find the Veterans:

 

http://www.loc.gov/folklife/vets/

 

YIS John

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I actually got the oppertunity to be in the crowd for the dedication of the WWII monument. Both of my grandfathers served during WWII, but did not live long enough to see the monument go up. I went in their honor (one of my grandfathers was also a very active Scouter, and he didnt get a chance to witness his only granddaughter become a rough and ready Boy Scout, so of late, I've been thinking of him more and more).

 

The ceremony was an awe inspiring experience and the generation of my grandparents has set the bar high for generations to come. I hope my generation can do this world and their generation justice in years to come.

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"There were of course tales of great bravery and valor, tales of hardship and rationing. "

 

Whenever I've met someone who is a member of this generation I always ask what they were doing between the years of 1939 - 1945. No matter who you talk to you get facinating tales.

 

I've talked to:

 

Women who worked in shipyards, on farms, served overseas.

 

Folks who ran halfway across China from the invading Japanese.

 

Slightly younger men who entered flight school or officer candidate schools that were dissappointed they didn't get into the war.

 

A man who flew fighter planes in the South Pacific.

 

A man the served in the South Pacific as a Sea Bee and has numerous tales of collecting sea shells, hiding from the Japanese, being ordered to find supplies for his unit to keep equipment going and ending up hijacking material from a loading dock somewhere and nearly being caught by MPs. My Father-in-Law.

 

 

 

A man who didn't sleep in a bed for two years. Who fought his way from Africa, to Sicily, and Italy as a PFC in the Army. Who kept his sons enthralled with what was believed to be enhanced stories of daring wartime action. Later in life I was to find there was more truth to these stories than enhancement and a darker side than was told. This man saw combat. In a recon platoon not too different than depicted in Saving Private Ryan, they spent many hours and nights behind enemy lines observing enemy positions and getting information back to their command. This man saw his friends die and wounded and had to defend himself in battle, taking life and was awarded the Bronze Star. This man was my Dad who was in Washington to see the Memorial and is one of many who answered his generation's call to duty.

 

They all have amazing stories and have earned the title, "The Greatest Generation".

 

SA

 

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