The Saddest Catalyst

by on Jul.10, 2009, under Uncategorized

….This was never a problem for previous generations. Examine the grandparents of “Generation Y.” As children they were united by the misery of the Depression. Generational unity firmly took root. Then developed the intense patriotism of World War II. As young adults, our grandmothers gathered scraps for rubber drives and endured butter rations, while our grandfathers fought on the Maginot line and island-hopped in the Pacific. They were a generation of “Rosie the Riveter” posters. They were a generation of great patriotism and unity of purpose.

Their love of country amazes me. Awed, I have listened to my grandparents share their stories of “the war.” Without hesitation, she speaks for her peers. “We gave up many of life’s luxuries,” my grandmother shared, “But we knew it was for a greater purpose. We knew it was for the well being of our country. And we love our country.”

But our generation has remained unchallenged and has never been forced to unite. War is a typical unifying factor, and our only experience with international conflict has been Desert Storm. But that brief scuffle in the sand was geographically far removed, and we were young. Desert Storm was little more than television images of bright lights in the sky and nightly briefings by leather-bomber-clad “SCUD-Stud” Arthur Kent.

The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are our unifying experiences. This reign of terror is our World War II. This is the unifying experience that is awakening “Generation Y” to life’s greater purpose and uniting us through the birth of our patriotism.

The attacks on America strike with a keen pain upon our generation. We are being shaken from our lives of comfort and being forced to look at the world as a stage greater than our own lives. We acutely feel the pain of loss. Our friends were those junior analysts working in financial groups located in the towering World Trade Center. Our complacent sense of peace and comfort was shattered with the thrust of an airplane throttle. Now young Americans are developing that long-absent sense of patriotism and purpose.

Around the nation students are talking about foreign policy, and debating current events. Young people are praying together, crying together, and donating blood together. They are developing a passion for something greater than their stock portfolios and resumes.

Perhaps in the wake of this tragedy, America’s young people will learn. Perhaps we will permanently refocus some of our energies away from self-interest and towards patriotism, humanity, and charity.

And as I observe my peers and examine their dreams, their fears, and their compassion, I can smile in the midst of tragedy. There is hope for this generation and a bright future for our nation.

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