Powerful Lessons from the Greatest Generation

Today is an important day in our family. It is our son’s 30th birthday, our nephew’s 9th wedding anniversary, and the day my father died in 2006. While the first two events are joyous and worth celebrating with gusto, it is my father’s passing that is on my mind. For many of us, relationships with parents can be complicated – and probably subject to over-analysis – but I think about my dad often, even though he’s been gone for 14 years. I learned many things from him, and I suspect I am becoming more and more like him as I age. I loved Papa and I know he loved me – and yet our relationship was mostly based on respect and admiration from a certain distance.

But beyond my own memories and reminiscing – and perhaps romanticizing – why does any of this matter? Put simply, my father’s generation, the ones we call “The Greatest Generation,” demonstrated a level of grit, determination, persistence, and perseverance that should challenge us all to do better, especially as we face our current challenges. As I trace the arc of my father’s life, I see this lesson in so many major events:

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