Despite the errors, setbacks and hardships, America was determined to overcome every obstacle that stood in their way. This became a national obsession and an all-consuming focus.
It is hard to imagine our people coming together in this fashion today. Perhaps the "greatest generation" was na ve, yet, from the stories I've been told by my parents and grandparents, there was a sense of happiness and satisfaction of accomplishment in the midst of all the sacrifices and loss of loved ones. The common goal and hardship forged a strong America capable of accomplishing anything.
The sacrifices by those who came before us were always done to lighten the load on future generations. Is the strong America our parents and grandparents handed over to our generations an America that we can feel equally confident about handing over to our children? Or have gotten so soft and so self-consumed that we simply won't sacrifice our lifestyle for the benefit of those who will come after us?
When best and brightest among us can't work together in an adult fashion to solve the internal domestic issues of the day, one has to wonder if we aren't better served right now getting young high schools kids from the Model UN program to address these issues and find the common ground solutions we've been unwilling to undertake.
These are strange times. The clock keeps ticking, the rhetoric keeps growing, and that once-strong sense of shared sacrifice seems a distant memory to the ever-dwindling number of Americans who lived through that era and sacrificed so much.
We have to be honest with ourselves. Will the America we leave our children be a better America than our parents left to us, or have we squandered the great advantage we once enjoyed out of self indulgence and uncompromising political positions? I think the next few years will be pivotal in answering those questions. While nearly all Americans would opt for the same goal, I wonder if we'll allow the method by which we reach that goal become the unraveling of America.
Dan Alexander is publisher and owner of Denton Publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.