Could it be that older Americans were "The Greatest Generation" because they "Praised the Lord"?
Recognizing that the World War II fight was a massive struggle with no guarantee that the Allied Powers would come out on top, a popular song of the time had these lyrics included: "Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. Praise the Lord we ain't a goin' fishin'. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition and we'll all be free." If we celebrate that generation and forget that they realized they needed God's help in order to prevail, we do them a disservice. Periodically we are so challenged that we turn to God again as our ultimate recourse in times of serious challenge. What about now?
I don't really think that's it at all. There are people who will stand up for themselves, their families, and "whoever else" when they think some mental-case-freak is out to harm innocent people and/or take away their right to live in freedom (at least as much freedom as is possible in a civilized society). Those are just plain, old, good and caring people who try to do what they believe is right.
Plain, old, good and caring people (genuinely "good and caring") don't do things because they want to get into Heaven. They just do them. This whole answer is an over-simplification of a big, complicated, picture; of course; but - really - I think what earned that Generation its "title" was that society hadn't yet grown so far away from caring about what's most meaningful and important in life that so many of those people appreciated and valued those things enough that they didn't lose site of them.
As for now-versus-then.. Things were so out-of-hand then that there wasn't a lot people could do other than resort to violence. Now there's a least a little more increasing awareness about arrogant, ignorant, oppressive, and violent thinking/behavior than then.
"Praise-the-Lord" thinking has been (and still is) only as good as the understanding of human nature and morality that goes with it; and that kind of thinking has been at times as big of a source of the problems as it has been (at other times and in other instances) constructive in society.
Yes, the plain, good, old caring people did it because they didn't want to be speaking German or Japanese in the future, and they didn't want a Hitler-type rule over them. Americans had our own culture and didn't want to give it up to tyrants.
No change. Same now as then. And again, why Americans? History is full of noble men and women from almost the ends of the Earth, who have sacrificed for God. One need not look too hard to find them.
The war is recent and while God dawned His robe of compassion to help those Allied Powers, it really is nothing new. Greatness was and is never goodness, but in goodness lies greatness supreme.
I have no doubt that America has produced great Souls in the Founding Fathers plus, but so do India with the Buddha, Christ, Sri Krishna and many more lesser and noble mortals, who have given their best for the benefit of Mankind. Through all this, God was, is and remains not only constant but self-transcending..
The new generation is far more advanced. The technology is better. The wars are faster. And the information about the mind and what can be done is much more advanced.
As a daughter of that generation, I can tell you that Americans were fighting for their very right to exist as Americans and for their very lives, not for “the Lord”. I sat many an evening with my grandparents listening to the radio for news of their “boys” who were fighting the war. Daddy, my uncle and an older cousin were all in the Pacific. Yes, there was a lot of “Praise the Lord” going on publically, including “Praise the Lord and Pass the Biscuits”, a country song parody of country religion in the 1940s and 50s. My father was a professed atheist, and he was just as willing to fight for his family and his country as any Bible-thumper. We had just come from the Great Depression, a time when many people lost faith and some even committed suicide. The war was a great rallying point for Americans, and being old enough to know what really went on, I can say that it was patriotism, not religion that rallied America. I’m sure prayers didn’t hurt us any, but the “greatest generation” were the greatest because their patriotism, not their religion, was tested. Even Japanese Admiral Yamamoto is alleged to have said, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”
What about now? Today war is impersonal. Our military are stationed in a land where attacks are made by suicide bombers or they are blown up by IEDs. Operators push buttons on computers instead of looking into the face of the person they are about to kill, or who is going to kill them. Troops under attack have to radio JAGs at the base for permission to fight back when under fire. Our reaction to the attack on Pearl Harbor prevented further penetration into the continental United States. The Twin Towers and the Pentagon were bombed by a self-sacrificial few who represented the terrorist group led by Osama Ben Laden. He is dead now, so why are we still fighting, and why should we “Praise the Lord” for giving us the “privilege” of fighting in these impersonal police actions? I am the wife of a Vietnam veteran who still bears the physical and emotional scars of that police action. I have earned the right to ask this question.
Posted as "Best Answer" so far. There is, however, a cycle of the faithful becoming more faithful in hard times, falling from that level of faithfulness as prosperity lulls, and increasing again in faithfulness when they get over thinking only "me."
Thank you, Perspycacious. I agree. I also think that people have become more self-centered, but I think people rallied after 9-11 because that was an attack on our country and on religious freedom.
Well those who are damming the Lord these days don't seem to be doing nearly as well. I think you've got something there.
There's many 'generations' to cover! I'm 67 and still trying to figure out, what my 'generation' was trying to prove. The Sixties, was pretty interesting yet it was a confusing time, transition from 'Leave it to Beaver' way of living to the utmost 'extreme' of 'mass murders', 'war draft dodgers', to the continuous religious wars between 'Catholics' & "Protestants". The killing of a few leaders, John & Robert Kennedy and Rev Martin Luther King. The list goes on. History repeats in and to every generation in way or another! I went to church a lot more in those days and lesser now. But I still believe in God and I still pray and hope for World Peace..Someday when theres more cooperation with people, to believe in Jesus and to get along with each other!
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