The Greatest Generation is Not Mine 06/01/11
So, I’ve been on a bit of a vacation. I didn’t go anywhere, but rather I took time this past holiday weekend to be with my family and tie up some loose ends at the close of my school year.
I went “off grid” for the most part, prompting some of my closest friend to call and see if I were okay! I assured them I was, but while spending time at home, I also took time to reflect on what Memorial Day means. By definition, we are to honor those who died in military service. For me personally this means my uncle who died in World War II when his plane was shot down over Europe. However, I extend this to handful of WWII vets I was honored to have known, including Eddie Rose, former Vice Mayor of Altamonte Springs, who flew raids over Europe, as well as Harry Meisel, former legendary swim coach, who fought in the Battle of the Bulge.
When speaking with them or hearing tales of their efforts, nobody can deny they were the Greatest Generation. And after hearing a report on the BBC on NPR today, I reaffirm that their particular generation is indeed the greatest, but I no longer restrict it to just the Allies who fought. I now extend this to the Japanese who rebuilt their country after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and this is why…
Over 200 retired engineers, all around the average age of 70, are petitioning the Japanese government to allow them to go back to work to take the place of younger workers in the Fukushima nuclear reactor that was damaged in the earthquake. Why? Because they know they will be less likely to live long enough to feel the full effects of radiation. They feel a sense of duty to once again serve their country, to restore it to the peaceful power it had become to after the war.
They explain that radiation can take decades to present itself in the form of deadly cancer, and chances are these older workers will not still be alive. This way the younger workers will still be able to live full, healthy lives. To see the full story, click here.
I ask myself if my generation would volunteer to do this… maybe. Perhaps some would…but would we in the great numbers that we are seeing in Japan? I wonder, and could only hope my generation would commit themselves so selflessly.
There is still humanity left in the world…thankfully!