During the period from July 3 to July 5, 1938, the last great reunion of Civil War veterans from both the North and the South took place in Gettysburg. It was obvious that many of these men were nearing the end of their lives. This was the last time there was an opportunity to see them and hear their stories. The last Civil War veteran was apparently Albert Woolson, who died in 1956 at the age of 109.
Tomorrow we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the D Day landings at Normandy. Sadly, we are reaching the point where there soon will be no more living WWII veterans. Many of the veterans who attended the celebration this week were in their high nineties. It is unlikely many of them will still be around for the 85th anniversary.
It is hard to even imagine the courage it must have taken to land on those beaches 75 years ago. Most wars are fought by very young men. I was 20 years old when I enlisted in the Air Force and by the time I was 23 I have flown on over 200 combat missions. The men who flew on those missions with me were the same age. We often said that the class of 1965 was the class that went to war.
Now reflect on the current generation of people between 18 and 25 years old. We call them Millennials. The following article contains the results of research on this generation:
It describes the debate as between whether Millennials are primarily self-entitled narcissists or rather open-minded do-gooders. Either way it is hard to imagine them participating in something like the Normandy invasion or even the Vietnam War. They would be more focused on protesting the use of guns by the enemy.
D Day is a reminder that the world is a very dangerous place and if anything more dangerous today than it was in 1944. We have about the same percentage of good and evil people; they just have far more destructive weapons.
It is important to pick leaders, not by the way they comb their hair or spout politically correct statements but rather by whether they have the character to stand up to threats like Iran or North Korea. The invasion of Normandy was a truly catastrophic event, but it pales in comparison to the cost of allowing an adversary to attack us with a nuclear weapon.
The real demonstration that mattered in 1944 was put on by the men who landed on that beach. When you see all those silly protests today remember they are only possible because of those who fought and died to preserve that freedom.
If Millennials really want to protest something important, why not buy a one way ticket to North Korea or Iran and protest there. Be sure it is a one-way ticket, because the odds of returning home alive are slim.