Generation X? Generation Y? Baby boomers? Millenials? I have lost count with all the names. In my relatively short time (compared to some) on Earth, I have seen the changes. Sure, I could complain about everyone on their cellphones, or the joys of Facebook. But instead, I might not follow the beaten path.
Watching Thirteen Days with my son, I feel connected to this topic. Each generation has had an event that has changed them. For myself: it was September 11, 2001. My parents: the assassination of JFK. Before them: the Attack on Pearl Harbor. And before: World War I. Each generation has had an event that will stick with them until they pass away. It is something that when someone asks where you were, you know exactly what you were doing. You remember who was with you. You remember standing in silence watching the TV broadcast the news. Or listening to the radio explain that the President had been shot. Or hearing that address that December 5 is a date which will live in infamy.
My hope for the next generation is not for peace, nor health, nor wealth. It is simple: that you will not experience an event so horrific that you remember where you were and what you were wearing. While peace is something the world, as a whole, dreams of. To wake up without fear of going to another World War, only this one will involve nuclear weapons.
My hope is that they will not walk into school for a routine day and then find themselves staring at a television praying for those they do not know. My hope is that the next generation realizes the sacrifices that have been made. That good men lost their lives in a fight not of their own accord. That the next generations does not forget Pearl Harbor. Nor that they do not for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That they do not forget Auschwitz and Dachau. That they will understand the lessons of history. My hope is that there are more good men and women in the next generation. That the sun will come up, simply because of the good of the world.
I know it is a lot to ask of the Next Generation. The survivors of WWI and WWII on both sides are slowing passing away. Their stories are ones that allow us to live through history. Survivors of September 11 are still alive, yet many cannot put into words. When my son asked why we take a moment of silence on these days, my answer is simple: to remember those who gave all. It Regardless of the side that one is on, many paid the ultimate sacrifice.
So, to the next generation: my hope is that you have a life without a tradgey. One where the sun comes up each day and you do not live in fear. It is a lot to ask, but is a hope that I cannot abandon.