Today I find myself thinking about a little event that happened sixty eight years ago. Now what I am thinking about is not the event itself though. You see there was something those men and women had that made this happen. This was the largest amphibious assault in human history. This is an event that shaped the world. It was with one loud cry that the voice of freedom placed its balls on the table and shouted in the face of fascism and tyranny. It was a battle of character. The war was happening for so many others for five long years. This though, was when the line was not only crossed, but pissed on. Twelve thousand allied soldiers lost their lives. It was estimated that the Germans had lost ninety percent of their fighting force in this assault. A mere nine thousand killed or wounded, compared to the twelve thousand of the Allied forces. The pill boxes rained death into the opening jaws of the landing craft. Antiaircraft weapons shredded the gliders carrying the paratroopers behind the lines. So few held so much, but in the end those few died and a foot hold was established in the Axis powers ass.
Now the question you have to ask yourself is what exactly possess a person to accomplish such deeds? What makes a young farm boy run into the fray? Instinct dictates that the ordinary person runs from such things. Instead of running from, they ran to danger with a bayonet in hand. They screamed in the face of death and looked to it as a purpose much greater than themselves. They saw something to fight for that was not of the individual, but it was personal. It kind of makes you wonder what the difference was between that greatest generation and the thing we have become? You see America was a two party system then. Pearl Harbor united them in cause far beyond the length of one presidential election. War bonds, victory gardens, and so much more showed not only support but a commitment to a higher cause. This was a cause that overcame the boundaries that overshadowed any God that anyone of them bent a knee too.
This was not a yellow ribbon magnet temporarily fixed to your cars posterior to help you fit in. It was not about being cool in the eyes of your neighbors and coworkers. All of this before we even knew the full extent of the atrocities of the Nazi's. So what made them so different? What made them so selfless? Does anybody think we as a nation could do this again? A war on two fronts, movements on a scale never before seen, and support pouring over. It was not the gritty video games that children emulated, but the stories from AFN. So what is the difference? What level of timing in our social evolution allowed us to shine in the spotlight? What the hell has happened since then?
Where did the ideal of personal courage go? Where did the idea of individuals balanced in the whole of the nation? This is when we were truly Americans. This is when we were something more than just Bob, Mike, Karen, or Jill. This is when we were Americans not just people that lived in a system called America. This is when we were really those UNITED States. They did not lack character or individuality, rather they celebrated it. I would not say they accomplished this in spite of this, but rather because of this. They knew that it was their individuality that made them Americans. It was that unique facet that was them that allowed our country to aspire to this greatness. They were the facets on one huge diamond. They enforced their will, and this did this without trying to bend others to it.
This diamond was flawed, with segregation and other embarrassing conditions that were later rectified, but even with this we stood UNITED. Blacks left a distinguished record in World War II. Even Americans of Asian descent fought valiantly and with distinction as their own families were held in interment camps on our own fucking soil. Women took to the factories even though they were not allowed to fight. How the hell did they do that? What made this greatest generation come together even when they were so divided at home? I can tell you what it was, they saw something bigger than themselves. They knew what was really on the line. It was the hope of equality, and the promise of liberty. It was what being an American is really supposed to be about. It was not trying but doing. It was putting forth the solution they had, rather than bitching about what they didn't.
So to that I say hail to the heroes and those honored dead. So say hail to those that set the standard that our selfish lazy entitled asses can't seem to follow. I say thank you to them for showing us that yes we can do it. It is possible even when things are not going so great to be a part of something that is. It was not about being just you, but understanding that also needed the "S" and the "A" to really be great. So hail to the heroes that died that day. Hail to those that lived and showed us the potential in ourselves. We can be more, once we figure out its not just about us, but its about U.S. Thank you to that greatest generation, and I hope we can once again be worthy to call ourselves Americans like you.