Magazine article Army

The Memorial

Magazine article Army

The Memorial

Article excerpt

In recent weeks we have celebrated Memorial Day and the dedication of the World War II Memorial. When I have been asked, as a World War II veteran, for my thoughts of that war and the memorial, I have responded in two different ways. As a member of "the greatest generation," which I don't claim but am proud that others proclaim, I think we earned that sobriquet because we all went to war, whether in the service, in government, in industry, in myriad volunteer efforts which brought children and grandparents along in one great cause, to preserve our liberty, our form of government, the legacy that had been left in our hands.

We looked forward to the job to be done, not backward at who was at fault for Pearl Harbor or for the Bataan Death March. As the war went on, mistakes were made in uncomfortable numbers, losses were inflicted, some self-inflicted; defeats happened, particularly in the early years, but the nation never lost sight of the goals to be achieved and never stopped to lay blame. And we never entertained thoughts of "a hopeless cause" or the hand-wringing associated with whether our cause was just. Yes, we had slackers, draft dodgers and antiwar advocates, but they got short shrift, little attention and almost no press. Today we are engaged in another war, one that may well evolve into a life or death struggle to protect that same legacy. The temper and fortitude and capacities for sacrifice of another generation will be tested in the months, perhaps years, to come. …

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