Back when I was a little child, there were many events happening in our lives. One day in every month, we had “air raid” drills. The sirens located on electric poles would emit their eerie blast and if we were in school, we’d have to crawl under our desks and place our hands on our heads. There were no questions asked, no quickly wiping the dirty floor to keep your clothes clean; just the quick drop and crawl to keep you safe.
We were the baby-boomers, also known as war babies. Husbands would come home from the war and in many cases, nine months later, babies were born. Families came together, went to church together, ate together, appreciated each other’s company.
Each Memorial Day the towns and cities held a Memorial Day Remembrance with mile-long parades. Same thing with the Fourth of July. Each Flag day in June, American Pride could be seen at every house where the residents would proudly display their American Flags.
At the end of each parade, the marchers and observers gathered around a flag pole in the nearest park. We’d all sing our National Anthem and hold our breaths while the lone bugler played Taps which was followed by a 21-gun salute. People would eagerly linger to hear the many speeches and stories of remembrance given by retired military personnel.
We remember those times. They make us appreciate what we have now. However, while we appreciate the peace we have come to know, the younger generation takes it all for granted.
Many of our children grew up with stories of our childhood but it’s easy to admit that their children did not. When I tell my grandchildren about hiding under my desk at school, they look at me as if I were an alien from outer space. “Grandma”, they say, “if someone dropped a bomb on the school, your tiny desk wouldn’t save you. Same thing if a chemical bomb was dropped. You’d be toast before you blinked an eye.”
Yes, yes! I know all that .. NOW! But back then, we didn’t know enough about chemical weapons or weapons of mass destruction. All we knew was that we were doing our best to survive an attack should there be one. Remember, we’d not long before just ended WWII. Thoughts of bombs and air raids were still very fresh in everyone’s mind.
Now we have today’s young adults.
Not every young adult will fit in this new category but enough do to make me wonder what’s going to happen to our country.
Many major cities and larger towns have cancelled their Memorial Day parade; some never even bothered to plan one. Why? As one 30-something said, “Who really cares anymore? Wasn’t my war!”
Seems no one, except the older generations wanted to bother planning or being in one. There are very few school bands that wish to perform in one. Many fire and police departments now claim they’re too busy to dedicate one or two vehicles along with their man-power to participate in a parade.
Have we really gotten so comfortable with our peace or so blasé about past ceremonies that can’t be bothered honoring those who fought for us to have these feelings?
You don’t have to have a direct connection to a way. You didn’t have to lose someone in a way to feel empathy for someone who did. All you need is a better understanding of what it means to be an American, what our citizens did to protect our country, why we fought when we fought and what it meant to win those wars.
While I never asked, I can also bet my pension that if I did ask the 30 residents on my street, not all 30 even own an American Flag. I can actually envision their reply, “Just never thought of buying one.”
Just like today’s 30-something generation. “Just never thought about it”.
Just never really thought of what it means to be American.
While we watch the younger generation, the 30-somethings enjoy their careers, parties, fancy cars and extravagant apartments, will they ever stop to think about the country that enabled them to have all these things? Will they ever stop taking all these things for granted? Will they every stop, even just once and feel the pride they should feel, as they place their hands over their hearts and recite the Pledge of Allegiance? Or will they even recite the Pledge?
Probably not. How sad that American tradition is being lost only because we have no major wars to remind us about how great our nation is! I don't want a war! I want my America back. Are the good old days really over?
How sad that American Pride is being lost along with American tradition.
I can see America fading in the distance.
I only pray it doesn’t take another war to wake up our sleeping beauties.