The WWII generation: Integrity, commitment and respect


MISSOURI, August 15, 2014 — Seniors were not perfect, but their generation had integrity. The way they lived their lives often stands in stark contrast to the way young people live today.

For example, we shook hands to bind a contract. As Tom Brokaw said:

“The WWII generation shares so many common values: duty, honor, country, personal responsibility and the marriage vow ” For better or for worse–it was the last generation in which, broadly speaking, marriage was a commitment and divorce was not an option”

The senior generation took pride in their appearance and dressed respectfully for important events. Today it is quite common to see people attending church wearing shorts and other types of vacation apparel.

For a contrast, look at the after church restaurant crowd, senior division?. The ladies are so nicely dressed, with their hair looking great, accompanied by their greatest admirers, those natty, properly attired gentlemen, each with a tie and coat. This scene is slowly disappearing.

This is but one real-life example highlighting that old-fashioned virtue of pride in appearance.

Today, some people insert things into their bodies to embellish their so-called appearance. They put rings on their tongue, nose, ear lobes, eye brows and who knows where else.

This is not something any senior would even consider.

We allowed religion in school and prayed in the locker room before a football game. We celebrated Christmas with Christ. There was no shame in displaying the Ten Commandments publicly.

Language was refined, kind and proper. Compare that to the language you hear walking through the mall. Even in the workplace, people use words and tone that would make a senior blush. Not to mention the tabloids and the lyrics in today’s music.

People were civil and behaved appropriately. We see the opposite today. Road rage. Running traffic lights. Disrespect by burning the flag. Disrespect shown to some of our educators. Disrespect to law enforcement personnel, evidenced  by some of the popular songs of today. It is sad to say, but the visible disrespect for members of families. Even small children disrespect their parents, telling mothers and fathers to “shut up.”

Seniors were careful with spending. You made so much, and you knew that you had to provide shelter for the family. They did not strive to have several cars – one was plenty, thank you – the cruise, and the bigger house. Saving for a college education was nothing but a dream for most.

Commitment in marriage was highly important. Just look at the percent of divorces that we have in our society today as compared to the 30s, 40s, 50s and even in the 60s. IMarriage has many bumps in the road, but if you both truly love one another, you work those problems out together. This does not require medical intervention, just maturity as a person and common sense that is if you both really “like “one another.

Employees were loyal to their employers, and employers in tern respected their employees. This started falling apart in the 80’s when companies started thinking more about the “bottom line” than their employees. Words like re-engineering, downsizing, cutting health benefits and now the corporate scandals started to emerge. The employees realized the employer saw them as nothing more than a way to get the job done, so employees lost their committment to the company. Now the day of receiving your watch for your thirtieth anniversary is a rarity.

Ambition, the goal to achieve, was high. Maybe it’s a case of trying to hold onto the job they have and do not want to rock the boat. Maybe the employee has a more outside interest then ambition for their job. Ambition-with integrity-is great for self-esteem and in turn contributing to life in general. Lack of ambition could be called a “plodder.

Seniors may not have done everything right, but they certainly had integrity. What happened?

However, that’s a time and place I am from-

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