MENOMINEE - This article is the second of a trilogy of articles on first, our grandparents; second, parents; and third, ourselves and children.
Like their parents before them, our parents also encountered challenges, sacrifices, and risks. Unlike their parents, they were not faced with identical sacrifices, such as leaving their family and friends behind, traveling across the world to a foreign land in search of work and a better way of life.
The Greatest Generation (as referred to by Tom Brokaw), our parents, were taught by our grandparents the appreciation of being an American; pride in a hard day's work; the value of family; respect of one another; one's word was as good as gold; and most importantly, faith.
Infused into them was an arsenal of values. They set forth and battled head-on during the Depression and World War II. Yes, they were tempered by war and strengthened by starvation, but they were successful in surviving both.
Our parents, with this inner strength and resolve were able to transform the America that their parents struggled to develop into the greatest industrial nation of the world. They carried the torch of freedom and hope into the darkened world after World War II.
So, in order to preserve their legacy, why not try some of the following:
1) Letters - Instead of discarding letters from the era, why not save them. These may provide a little snapshot of the sacrifices and challenges they experienced.
2) Relatives - If your parents are no longer with us, why not talk to a close aunt or uncle about that era.
3) Video - I cannot emphasize this enough. If your parents are still alive, take the time and interview on a video cam about what life was like for them.
As I had previously mentioned, faith was the cornerstone that enabled our parents to persevere. They carried their faith with them not just in the difficult times, but for their entire lives.
Dan Paul is the administrator at Menominee Catholic Central Elementary School. His columns, which explore family relationships, are published monthly in Lifestyles. He can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.