American generations: Be proud of all of them

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Sammy Pierce
  • 45th Operations Group, Detachment 3 commander
Most of us have family members that were part of our "Greatest Generation". My  grandfather recently passed away causing me to think more about his service during World War II. He and his four brothers all served in the Army Air Corps.

The world was a different place with an enemy that focused on this country as never before. Entire families joined the military or took jobs in the industrial sector supporting
the effort. By the end of the war more than 15 million men and women had served in the military. Everyone was touched by the war effort with family or friends involved in some
capacity but the numbers today are quite different.

In 2010, our military has less than 1.5 million warriors to meet the challenge of two combat theaters while upholding a truce in Korea. Today's generation has an equally difficult task and is performing every bit as admirably as the "Greatest Generation".

We face an enemy abroad with no definite front or recognizable uniform, where they transition from combatant to civilian in the span of a few seconds.

Our airmen do great deeds in combat and then rise to aid countries in need. We were the world's first responders to Indonesia, Haiti and at home with events like Hurricane Katrina. We truly do more with less taking on all challenges and excelling with professionalism, pride and honor.

The difference today is that most families in our society have no association with the military. Less than one percent of Americans have served in our all-volunteer service. We do our job without the same national level of attention. Support for the warrior is there, but the personal commitment of every American is different without the singular focus on a well-defined enemy.

As the survivors of World War II pass on, we will miss many things about them, but their example lives on in our dedication and sacrifices. Their heritage of honor and service before self has been passed to another truly great generation of American warriors. Be proud of our heritage, be proud of our families and be proud of our service!