My Generation Must Sacrifice

I was embarrassed to read that President Clinton and his advisors have said, "The older generation must learn to sacrifice as other generations have done."

That's my generation. I knew eventually someone would ferret out the dirty secret. We've lived the "lifestyle of the rich and famous" all our lives. Now, I know I must bare the truth about my generation and let the country condemn us for our selfishness.

During the Depression, we had a hilarious time dancing to the tune of "Brother Can You Spare A Dime?" We could choose to dine at any of the country's fabulous soup kitchens, often joined by our parents and siblings. Those were the heady days of carefree self-indulgence.

Then, with World War II, the cup filled to overflowing. We had the chance to bask on the exotic beaches of Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima and Okinawa, to see the capitals of Europe, and to travel to such scenic spots as Bastogne, Malmedy and Monte Cassino. Of course, one of the most exhilarating adventures was the stroll from Bataan to the local Japanese hotels, laughingly known as death camps.

But the good times really rolled for those lucky enough to be on the beaches of Normandy for the swimming and boating that pleasant June day in 1944. Unforgettable. Even luckier were those who drew the prized holiday tickets for cruises in sleek, gray ships to fun filled spots like Midway, the Solomons, the Mariannas, Iwo Jima and Murmansk. Instead of asking, "What can we do for our country," an indulgent government let us fritter away our youth wandering idly through the lush and lovely jungles of Burma and New Guinea.

Yes, it's all true. We were pampered; we were spoiled rotten; we never did realize what sacrifice meant. We envy you, Mr. Clinton, the harsh lessons you learned in London, Moscow and Little Rock. My generation is old, Mr. President, and guilty, but we are repentant. Punish us for our failings, sir, that we may learn the true meaning of Duty, Honor, and Country.

Robert J. Grady, Lt. Col., USAF (Ret), Colorado Springs, Colorado


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