On Improving America…part two
It may come as a surprise to many however the folks Brokaw refers to were born somewhere between 1900 and 1910 perhaps at the earliest. That time period in the history of the United States generally looked, or so it seemed, very much like today. Yet little did the folks realize then, they were on a very tragic course.
Some bigger matters that reared ugliness happened in all sectors of society. In government, wars, civil rights, and exploration managed affairs such as the Boxer Rebellion in China. China wanted all foreigners out of their country. The battles primarily concerned Chinese and military members of the United Kingdom; however, to end the hostilities a multi-national coalition of the U.S., Great Britain, France, Russia, Germany, and Japan reached Peking and quashed the bloody Boxer Rebellion.
On the home front the temperance movement turned less than temperate whereby vigilantes and those abhorring alcohol lead excursions into Kansas and other states literally destroying any place remotely involved with liquor. Interesting as well the Social Democratic Party began to grow in numbers.
The U.S. government felt the need to establish a currency act therefore establishing what is now referred to as the gold standard. The government entered into contracts with the huge mining concerns going on in South Africa.
A monstrous hurricane killed over 6,000 people in Galveston, Texas. Between the motion picture reportage of the hurricane in Texas and a huge explosion at Hoboken, N.J. killing an estimated 400 individuals, the production of these two films were the forerunners of the mass news coverage that could be seen.
Tom Brokaw was born in 1940, but it wasn’t until he was a famous newscaster that he began to contemplate what his parents’ generation—those born between 1900 and the mid-1920s—had accomplished. Narrating his own book, he discusses the sacrifices those men and women made: the bodily harm they suffered in war, the diligence with which they built families and businesses, the courage they displayed in rehabilitating their war wounds, the integrity and values that infused their lives.
“They never whined or whimpered,” Brokaw notes. The stories these men and women tell Brokaw are consistently startling — triumphant, tragic, courageous, sad, miraculous. Many learned experts have come to criticize Brokaw and his belief that this was the greatest generation any society in the history of humankind has ever produced and since that time, remains the greatest generation.
There are some critical issues at hand regarding this as well as previous generations and succeeding generations. However, as Brokaw himself readily admits, that in the final conclusion…he has history and the country on his side.
There is also a continuing theme that runs through the story — that for better or worse has been branded upon my heart with the love and fire from God. This recurrent theme is definitely reflected in the people who carried the world on its back — themes like values, honoring all people and what they were doing regardless of what one felt about it, ethics, community, morals, and the proverbial “do unto others as if they were doing unto you…”