To the Greatest Generation,
I know that as the years go by, your hope for my generation becomes dismal. When you were my age you dropped everything, left school, left your families and pushed aside dreams for your future to serve America. In a world full of Kardashians, concerns over internet fame, Instagram likes and Twitter retweets, it’s hard to imagine that my generation can ever grapple with the importance of the events of December 7th and the sacrifices you made 75 years ago.
I know that what you see is disparaging, but I contend that there are many in my generation who honor the sacrifices you have made for us, even before we were born. The events that changed your life forever, forever changed mine as well. It is because you were so benevolent 75 years ago that I am free today.
Your generation is slowly dissipating and you’re concerned, and rightfully so, that my generation will not be effective vessels to carry on your legacies. While we may not bear the burden or carry shrapnel in our bodies, the words of Donald Stratton ring true in my mind.
In his book, Mr. Stratton writes:
“Whatever happened on December 7th, 1941, if it didn’t kill us it changed us forever.”
While we may not be among your brethren of fellow soldiers, the events of that day changed our lives forever too. Your America then, is our America now, and while we have not been called to serve in the magnitude that you were, I have faith that we are capable. Despite our generational differences, you’ll find that we are connected by a love for country.
Mr. Stratton, like many WWII veterans, feels that he has an obligation to save what memories he has. While not every member of my generation feels the same, I ask that you allow us to share in your obligation. Tell us your stories. Let us be the millennial minstrels who have the pleasure of retelling you gallant tales of love, sacrifice, and duty to country.
While we may not stop you as you pass by us in the store, as we pass each other in the parking lot or when we spot you in a restaurant, our hearts are in the right place. Millennials are undoubtedly grateful for your sacrifices and your service but expressing this gratitude in words seems to be harder than imaginable.
While we may not show it in conventional ways, my generation is grateful to you today, grateful to you tomorrow, and grateful to you always.
A grateful Millennial