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South Vietnam
Vietnam War
God Bless America

The rapidly disappearing cohort of Americans that endured the Great Depression and then fought
World War II is receiving quite a send-off from the leading lights of the so-called 60s generation.
Tom Brokaw has published two oral histories of "The Greatest Generation" that feature ordinary
people doing their duty and suggest that such conduct was historically unique.

Chris Matthews of "Hardball" is fond of writing columns praising the Navy service of his father
while castigating his own baby boomer generation for its alleged softness and lack of struggle.
William Bennett gave a startling condescending speech at the Naval Academy a few years ago
comparing the heroism of the "D-Day Generation" to the drugs-and-sex nihilism of the
"Woodstock Generation." And Steven Spielberg, in promoting his film "Saving Private Ryan," was
careful to justify his portrayals of soldiers in action based on the supposedly unique nature of
World War II.

An irony is at work here. Lest we forget, the World War II generation now being lionized also
brought us the Vietnam War, a conflict which today's most conspicuous voices by and large
opposed, and in which few of them served. The "best and brightest" of the Vietnam age group
once made headlines by castigating their parents for bringing about the war in which they would
not fight, which has become the war they refuse to remember.

Pundits back then invented a term for this animus: the "generation gap." Long, plaintive articles
and even books were written examining its manifestations. Campus leaders, who claimed
precocious wisdom through the magical process of reading a few controversial books, urged
fellow baby boomers not to trust anyone over 30. Their elders who had survived the Depression
and fought the largest war in history were looked down upon as shallow, materialistic and out of
Written by Senator Jim Webb