Image Credits: DAVID DOUBILET, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Today, December 7th 2016, is the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II. This event marked the United States’ official entry into the war. Millions of Americans stepped up to fight for their country.  My grandfather being among them. They responded to the call of their nation and took on some of the greatest evils this world has ever seen. The Americans who lived through the Great Depression and World War II are considered to be part of the “Greatest Generation,” and I am inclined to agree. Their humility, bravery, and patriotism are to be admired and treasured. This is a tribute to the greatest generation of Americans that have ever lived and a thank you to them for their willingness to preserve freedom for future generations.

The attack on Pearl Harbor took the lives of over 2,000 Americans. The day following, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called on Congress to declare war on Japan, stating “No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.” And Congress did so, subsequently declaring war on Germany and Italy. One of the most despicable evils this world has seen had risen to power in Germany, and other nations were allying themselves with it. This heinous cause had reached American soil.  It was time to respond. Thousands of young men enlisted in the military, and citizens nationwide came together to support the war effort. It was one of the most incredible demonstrations of patriotism and American solidarity in the face of a national and global crisis.

The Americans who stepped up to fight knew what was required of them. Their nation had endured a tragedy. The world was battling tyranny. Those of all ages went to war against it. Notably, a large amount of young men ages 18 and 19, like my grandfather at the time, traveled to all areas of the globe to preserve freedom on earth when most of them had not even traveled outside of their home states. Some sacrificed their lives, and many were injured. My grandfather was shot in both knees and in the head for his nation. Also, this generation of Americans not only consisted of the incredibly brave people who fought, but those who supported the nation. Women were essential in the war effort. They became industrial workers, typists, and filled many of the roles vacated by men who were now directly involved in the war. At a time when freedom was under threat and when the principles that make this country great were in jeopardy, Americans across the board answered the call.

Allied victory over the Axis Powers came in 1945, almost four years after America’s entry. One of the most defining characteristics of the Greatest Generation is their quietness in regard to the war. In fact, they were quite silent about their experiences. The children and grandchildren of those who fought point out the lack of information their parents and grandparents gave to them, which is widely attributed to the fact that they still faced the grim realities of their experience. However, another key characteristic of these men is humility. These Americans were not flashy with their victory.  Rather their service was done as a sense of duty to the nation. I may look at my grandfather’s service in the army with pride, yet he saw his role as simply doing what needed to be done. They saw a need, and they responded.

Thank you to every American that answered the call. During a time when the world feared tyranny, brave Americans took it on. In a display of pure courage and patriotism, they knew what they needed to do. Thank you to those who supported the war at home. To the citizens who may not have gone to the front lines, but assisted their nation in the war effort. I hope Americans across the country remember that freedom comes at a price. There will always be a threat to the freedoms we possess, and it will always need defending. We should learn from the examples of those who came before us. In remembering the Greatest Generation of Americans, we should honor those who sacrificed today especially, and every day. If you find yourself with the opportunity to do so today, thank a veteran. They deserve it.

Liana I.
FFL Cabinet
Liana is a follower of Christ and current communications student at Fairleigh Dickinson University. She enjoys writing, reading, and serving others.

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