What Would the Greatest Generation Think About Today?

By Ray Cardello for December 12, 2021 Season 7 / Post 33

As much as I miss my Dad, I am often glad he does not have to see today’s America. Like so many of his friends and cousins, Dad answered the call and enlisted in the Army Air Corps. There was no Air Force in WWII. The Air Corps would evolve into the Air Force. The young men who volunteered went one of two ways. They went to Europe to fight Hitler and the German forces, or they went west to fight the Rising Sun of Japan. My Dad found himself in the Philippines. He did not speak about his experiences in the Pacific Theatre. That was very common in his generation. They saw what needed to be done, put their lives on hold, and went off to save the world—a giant task for such young men, boys.

I often think that if our country were faced today as they were in the early 40s, we would be speaking German, Japanese, or both. My father was a traditional young man of the post-war era. He came home, got a job, married, and raised a family. With the fanfare of V-Day behind them, they went on to their new mission, be the best man they could be for their family. That is what my Dad did and did well.

The men of the 40s and 50s were men’s men. They were tough, loved their families, and loved their country. After all, they had answered her call and were willing to give their lives for America.

My Dad would have a difficult time accepting the new Woke America. He was a Kennedy Democrat being born and died in Lawrence, Massachusetts. I am sure today he would be a staunch Conservative, and this entitled society would grate him to no end.

Dad worked hard. He did the usual 9-5, came home to read the paper in his rocking chair, and then it was out back for a game of catch. For five years, he was my baseball coach and instilled competitiveness in me and a respect for the game. I remember our first Patriot’s game. It was at Fenway Park and was a 13-13 tie with the San Diego Chargers. After the game, we walked out to the left-field grass and stood in front of the Green Monster. That was the area where his idol Ted Williams ruled for many years. It was almost a spiritual moment for Dad that I did not understand until later in my life. Dad was a role model, a gentleman, and a patriot. He was a man of the Greatest Generation.

Dad, and I am sure most of the men of the 40s would have much to say to the young folks of today. He would have no use for the Radical Left. He would be so upset with the protesting and destruction of the Summer of 2020. He would give Defund the Police, and Black Lives Matter followers an earful. Dad was colorblind, literally and philosophically. I remember how upset some of the neighbors were in the early 70s when Dad brought one of his friends, a black man, home for dinner. To my Dad, he was a friend, not a black friend. That was how he raised us. My two sisters and I saw people, not color.

Dad and his generation fought, and many died for America because of their love for this country and its ideals. There was no equity but tons of opportunity. There were no handouts but plenty of jobs. There was no protesting, just flying the flag. The Red, White, and Blue meant the world to this generation, and they made the United States the envy of that world. They would not tolerate nor understand the anti-American thinking of anyone, let alone our elected. Those folks would have short careers in Dad’s day. Maybe it is time we still learn from our dads. They may be gone, but what they taught us still burns intensely. Don’t ever let their fire burn out.

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