It’s counter-intuitive to call any war ‘good’ or single out any generation as ‘the greatest.’ However, such may be the case for the generation of WWII. Given that same collision of historic circumstances is not likely to occur again, perhaps it’s worth the trip back to find out why these labels.
The blood-soaked war front was hardly good in any sense of the word, but the home front…now that was something else! Unlike any war before or since, the home front in the Forties quickly became America-at-its-best. For every one of the millions of men in service, there were dozens back home supporting him and the noble cause for which we believed he fought.
There were his parents…his family…his neighbors…his representatives…his teachers…and often the proverbial girl-back-home. Also the local boy scout troops collecting paper and metal, the volunteer nurse corps, the movie producers and song writers and celebrity Bond Rallies, the relentless dramatic tributes on radio and in the press, the blue and gold stars in the windows, the neighborhood plaques honoring the names of everyone in service.
Propaganda…? Sure! From Peal Harbor in 1941 to VJ Dy in Tokyo Bay in 1945, 150 million of us homefronters were bathed in 24/7 propaganda about the nobility of our cause and the brutality of our evil enemies. But you see here’s the point. We bought it, because we believed it. We found it easy to believe because we still believed the American Dream which surely made us the good guys.
No need to tarry over that debatable assumption. The pivotal question, challenge really, we are left with is this. Why is it so hard for so many of us to believe it again? More informed? more skeptical? more confused? All of the above. Plus the added twist that many of us no longer perceive our government as something to believe and trust and commit to.
The road back…? To that earlier America…? Well, traveling without trusted leadership is usually a failed journey. Now what?
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