Questions from Member of “Greatest Generation”

Calvin Bowden


We have been reading a lot about the so-called “Greatest Generation”. A famous newscaster, now retired, wrote a book with that title. It has become the accepted reference to those of us who survived the Great Depression by working hard and making do with what was available, then serving honorably in WWII.

I’ll admit that my family and I did our share of farm work and other laboring type jobs back then, but there are others who served in the military service that deserve the real credit for that part of our lives. I hope that re that doesn’t disqualify me from asking the high moguls of government and business questions about some developments in our country we are very concerned about. I still think we live in the best country in the world, and want to say nothing to do it harm. But even diamonds have flaws and rails on the best railroads need replacement.

We know some change is inevitable, but during the last several decades here seems to have been no limits on what our modern society will tolerate. We know tolerance precedes acceptance, and that to accept harmful ways and values means we have ceased to be what we have always claimed to be.

Has the great American choo-choo jumped off the tracks? If is has, we’ve either been running on bad rails, or employing poorly qualified engineers. Whatever the cause, my group suspects that by tolerating and promoting the wrong trends, or allowing them to come to pass by inaction, the society we told we were fighting to save has changed drastically.

Another concern has to do with marriage, home and family. During or early years, some personal acts and unions were considered disrespectful, dishonoring to family and bad for any society in general. We were taught that the stable family unit was the backbone of any society. Who changed the rules?

Do you remember the meaning of the term “moral”? It wasn’t the name of a creek running through western Nacogdoches County. When did it become only a matter of relativity, something totally dependent on one’s point of view and personal preference?

Another delicate subject.

Just this week, I saw another picture in the paper showing women preparing themselves for military combat. According to other news releases, women have been serving in combat zones for years, performing many functions that were the responsibility of men during our early year when men were in charge of protecting the home, providing groceries and a house to live in. With a few unfortunate exceptions, women of all classes enjoyed a high status, and we believed mothers were the most respected individuals in the universe. Why do some women who do not have to work now look upon motherhood and family care as too domestic for modern women with career interests?

Why are we hearing about, and seeing, so much disorder, illegal drugs and violence in our public school systems? What has been allowed that has made it necessary to have uniformed, armed policemen patrol some school grounds and buildings? Why are teachers not allowed to control their students? Why can’t teachers teach rules for proper living? Exactly where in the constitution does it say that religions rules for living are forbidden?

Our generation wasn’t perfect, but parents, old folks and persons in public authority were in charge, not children and malcontents. What prompted the change? And why have church leaders been so silent on those issues? And while we’re on the subject of churches, why has it become illegal to display religious symbols in or near situations of learning and governmental rule? Haven’t our leaders always told us that it was the Marxists who outlawed religion in public places? You remember the Soviet Union, don’t you? If you do, you may also recall that we were allies during WWII. Many of their soldiers and flyers were based at Ladd Field, Alaska, where I served.

Why has our manner of dress, music, speech, dancing and TV programming changed so much from what we once considered both entertaining and proper? Who allowed degrading displays and vulgar vocabulary become so prevalent? Why does the society we fought to defend now report the largest crime rate and the largest number of imprisoned people than any industrialized society in the world?

Why are we ordered to fight a war to protect our country from those we suspected might one day invade our country when no effective action has been taken to prevent a real invasion? Why is this still ongoing? Why do we feel that the society we took up arms to save now being taken away from us?

Why cry over spilled milk, you say? Were all those things we were told about being so great nothing but hype? I hope not. In spite of the turmoil, most of us still believe good people outnumber bad ones. But can anything be done to keep the best things in place while allowing changes that benefit us all? Regardless of how you look at it, I hope talking about it does no harm. If it does, I hop you’ll forgive me.

I’ve got to move on to something more cheerful before readers start thinking I don’t believe people should let their hair down at times and have a good time in this life. There’s no law or federal court ruling forbidding that. Not yet.