A Tribute to the Greatest Generation

By Richard H. Frank 

It was the Saturday before Christmas 2009 and my wife Jayne and I had stopped at one of our favorite breakfast places along Florida’s Nature Coast. The restaurant was jammed, as usual, with retired seniors that appreciate good food at reasonable prices.  The difference today was that there were two gentlemen wearing caps with military insignia and lettering indicating they were World War II veterans. These men were not together and it did not appear that they were connected in any way other than having served their country.

As the first man approached our table, along with his spouse, my wife inquired about his cap and stated how proud she was of his service. He smiled broadly and stated that he was now 87 years old and thanked us for our interest. His wife laughingly said, “we shouldn’t praise him too much as his head was already too big”. We all chuckled and they wished us a merry Christmas as they left the restaurant.

A few minutes later the second veteran approached our table and Jayne inquired if he knew the other individual we had spoken with. He said no. His facial expression became somewhat wistful as he said, “there aren’t too many of us left any more.”He and his wife also wished us a merry Christmas as they departed.

We looked at each other realizing that we had just experienced something that our grandchildren may never have the opportunity to appreciate. Meeting two individuals from the “Greatest Generation” and their spouses, who proudly displayed their patriotism and recognition of God by having wished us a merry Christmas.

I can only imagine what thoughts must go through the minds of those veterans, who fought to preserve our liberties, as they witness the actions of our Federal Government today. The words of the second veteran echo in my mind; “There aren’t too many of us left anymore.” Not too many left to impart to the “Now Generation” the values and principles that they and millions of others put their lives on the line to protect. Not too many left to explain how their work ethic, after the war, and appreciation of our free enterprise system made America the envy of every other nation on the planet. Not too many left that can attest to the true meaning of, “ONE NATION, UNDER GOD WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.”

It only took us 60 years to acknowledge their service with a memorial in Washington D.C. I fear however, that our high school text books and curriculum fail to teach the principles and values contained in the Declaration of Independence and enumerated in the Constitution that these men served to protect and defend. Today, if we are not vigilant, big government will continue to erode our freedom and liberty and move this nation toward socialism and not the America our Greatest Generation fought to preserve.

May God bless all of our veterans and service men and women today. May God continue to bless this Republic and keep it truly free.

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