Honoring the heroes of our past.
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A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece about the fading sentimental connection of today’s generations with World War II, the defining event of the 20th century. There is some oddity in living through the transition: in seeing the soldiers whom FDR called “our sons” become our grandfathers and great-grandfathers, and then the ghosts of history commemorated on tombstones.

One of the most important transitions is the fading of the grand narrative by which we defined and guided our nation for so many decades. The hindsight of history has its rewards. But it has its drawbacks as well, as immediacy and personal connection disappear behind us.

A whole civilizational mindset is being bred out of us with the passage of time: a visceral sense of meaning and purpose that once flooded us when we heard words like “Pearl Harbor” or “D-Day.” Even we who were born well after V-J Day in 1945 were participants in the nearly universal sense that World War II was the gravitational center of our time. If we didn’t have personal memories, we had vivid memories of the memories of others: pictures and sounds and stories burned on our minds and hearts.

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