January 14th, 2012
The Greatest Generation?
The term 'Greatest Generation' has been used to describe the generation that grew up during the depression and fought through the Second World War. Tom Brokaw's book gives credit to a generation that saw huge changes and overcame adversity.
I would never question that the GI generation, born between the turn of the 20th Century and 1925, do not deserve the title. But In a decade or two, I think, the generation who have had to deal with everything that has happen since 9/11, especially those who have served their country, might be be considered the 'Greatest Generation 2.0.'
I am reading a book written by an Army buddy of mine, Mick Flynn. In Trigger Time, Mick's second book, he details the life of soldiers in Afghanistan during two tours in 2005 and 2007. Mentioned in the book, are several soldiers that I had the pleasure of serving with. When I knew them, they were young guys, just starting their Army careers.
After 9/11, the world changed for them. The fight against terrorism meant that they were committed to fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Politics aside - they went and did their job under the most exacting conditions, under the most rigorous scrutiny in this high tech, 24-hour news cycle world. Those guys, that I knew as young soldiers, in Afghanistan and Iraq were hardened war vets and leaders.
Not only has this generation had to fight the Iraq and Afghan wars, for a decade now. But most of them were involved in the Balkan wars, which lasted a decade as well. Although I didn't leave the Army until 2002, I wasn't involved in an operational tour since the first Gulf War. Unlike me, the guys mentioned in Mick's book, were on constant tours throughout the nineties to Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia.
There are men serving in my regiment that have known nothing but war - their entire military careers have been one long conflict. In years to come, when the history books are being written, I honestly believe that they will say that this generation was truly great.
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