There is a video that has been making the rounds of facebook, that asks a very important question. Does this generation [ ours ] deserve the freedom we enjoy that was won for us at so high a price by those who fought and won world war two? On the surface, a strong and compelling argument can be made that we don’t. The video does a good job of making it. I want to persue this line of thinking just a little further.
For starters, there is no doubt that the second world war was truly a global conflict unlike any we have ever experienced before or since. It was fought by people who had lived through the first world war and all it’s horrors, the roaring twenties, the dirty thirties, it’s global depression and coinciding drought on the plains of the mid west in North America. Life in those days was so much more difficult than it is today, even for just the necessities of life. These people knew what hard times where and understood what “struggling to make a living” really meant. They where tough as nails and by no means uneducated or lacking in wisdom. The crucible of life had tested them and found them able to cope with every disaster and malady that could be thrown at them. The generation that fought world war two where far tougher than their descendants turned out to be both mentally and physically by a long shot. By the time the war was finally over six bloody years later, they had proved that free men fighting for those liberties and defending all those things they cherished more than life itself, could be molded into a weapon that no force on earth could resist.
So what happened? Why are their children and grand children so unlike their forefathers who bled and died to ensure the rights and freedoms we enjoy today would not be lost? While it is true that there are millions of people who understand what was sacrificed almost 80 years ago, the truth is that there are tens of millions more who not only don’t know, but wouldn’t care if they did. We have become a society of ingrates, layabouts and self centered crybabies who are never satisfied even when every responsibility over their own affairs are removed from their everyday life. In short, we have become intellectual infants incapable of rational thought and cold uncaring beings with no love for anyone that can’t satisfy some need or longing for them.
This all sounds harsh. But the truth often is. If you doubt me, ask yourself what first world gizmo or gadget you would be willing to do without permanently? Cellphones, the internet, 24/7 news channels, satellite tv, all seem like absolute requirements for modern daily life. But the truth is, while they certainly make some things easier, there is a cost to these trinkets I don’t think we fully understand. That cost comes in the form of political ignorance, intellectual laziness, and a disconnected, disjointed society. In a world of instant communication, we’ve never been so isolated from those around us. If you where to walk away from social media for a month and just read the classics, how much better off would you be? How many people have read “Dante’s Inferno” Homers “Odessy” or Dickens “A tale of two cities”? How many people have even heard of them? While the internet brings knowledge, reading brings the wisdom to employ that knowledge to it’s best effect. So because of our drift into modernity, we have forgotten what it takes to stay free. We’ve forgotten our history and why knowing what went before is about more than just avoiding the mistakes of the past, it is about remembering who we are. Unless we reverse that trend and recall our own stories, until we are willing to stand and fight for what we believe in no matter the cost, the answer posed at the beginning of this article will sadly be a soft, sobbing.. No…
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