My parents were members of what has been called the 'Greatest Generation.' My father served in WWII, and my mother was 'Rosie the Riveter,' working in Seattle for Boeing during the war. From 1941 to 1945 those fighting the war and those supporting it were subjected to extremely difficult lives and even horrific conditions.
War stories number in the thousands, and they are mostly true. And, to that generation, America owes everything. Without their courage and determination, our national language would be German or possibly Japanese.
When the men and women who served in our armed forces returned home, they didn't find it as they left it. The United States had been forced to institute a 'wartime' economy. When the war ended, businesses had to re-tool, and re-configure their goals. Jobs were scarce, and the jobs that were available were all-too-frequently geared towards women.
The children of these men and women may have been the most dysfunctional of any generation. I was part of that group.
My father, and many other men I knew, drank too much, were depressed most of the time, and were angry, but didn't know to whom or what they should direct that anger. My father and mother fought daily, until they finally separated and divorced when I was nine or ten years old.
During the time they were together, I began to have severe migraine headaches. Finally, one night I slipped into a coma. Our family doctor diagnosed the cause as 'extreme anxiety.'
My father refused to pay child support, so it fell upon my mother to care for the needs of my brother, me, and her own. We lived in the poverty level, but never knew it. We took care of each other, as did the majority of families I knew.
School was of prime importance to me. I received mostly "A's" on my report cards, and the majority of that time was spent in Catholic schools. College was the goal. Unfortunately, I had the grades, but not the money. If I wished to live the life of a normal teenager, I had to work.
Friends of mine who did go to college worked hard to obtain their degrees. Our generation didn't receive much in the form of aid; we had to do everything ourselves.
When Vietnam erupted, my age group, born in 1946, were the first to be called to serve. I was one of the lucky ones. I had enlisted in the USAF right out of high school, and was medically discharged less than six months later. I did not have to serve in a war that had no support with those in my age group.
Many of my friends were not quite as lucky. Some came back with severe or even permanent injuries, and some didn't come back at all. The one thing we all shared was that we had no idea what the war was all about. I'm still not entirely sure.
We 'baby boomers' were the generation of free love, drugs, and revolution. We refused to support our government blindly as had our father's generation. We changed the world, and it was for the better. We were innovative, creative, and free thinkers.
When men and women who have lived privileged lives, such as Bill Maher, claim that we are taking from the government, and that we were spoiled, they are speaking from another orifice than their mouths.
My social security checks are from money contributed by me and my employers; it is not from the government. In fact, I will never receive the full amount I put into the program.
Social Security is only in trouble because our government took money from the account to pay for their own 'pork belly' projects.
Yes, Mr. Maher, we have earned every penny we receive. I worked for 48 years until I was the first in my company to be laid off in 2008 because of age discrimination. (Yes, unlawful or not, it is a standard business practice.)
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