Memorial Day and the Greatest Generation

This last fall my wife and I took a trip to Washington D.C.  I am a museum-aholic so trips to our nation’s capital are always enjoyable for me.  The weather was outstanding and my wife and I were strolling down the National Mall.  As we came upon the National World War II Memorial, I encountered a person who has become increasingly rare: a World War II veteran.  He was wearing a baseball cap that signified the ship he served on with various pins attached and carried himself like many other men I have known from the Greatest Generation. Having him there made our tour special.

If you are my age or older you have had the privilege of encountering a great number of World War II veterans.  They were our community leaders, teachers and pastors during our formative years.  In fact, when I first started my business career, World War II veterans were my clients.  My very first client was a United States Army captain during the Battle of the Bulge.

I learned a lot about business from this generation.  Here are a few of my observations:

  • They had a very healthy attitude regarding debt or the lack thereof.
  • They invested in their businesses. Their facilities were clean, neat and efficient.
  • They treated their employees with respect and dignity.
  • They had a heightened sense of patriotism coupled with a sense of community.
  • They were understated in their expression of wealth.
  • They were committed to their families.
  • They were loyal in their business relationships.
  • They took their responsibilities very seriously.
  • They did not like the limelight and downplayed their accomplishments.

I believe a lot of these traits can be attributed to their service to our country.  We became better as a nation because of their contributions.  We owe them a great deal.

A lot of their friends did not make it back and for that we will remember them on Monday.

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