We now have a new generation of veterans. I’m calling these new vets, The New Greatest Generation. They have been at war longer than in any of our wars. We cannot tolerate as a country the venom and hate that was directed toward our Vietnam Veterans. That was a horrible stain on our country. I gave three special events last year during Veterans Day week where I spoke about my involvement in WWII as a 5 year old tap dancer with a Big Band, Kay Kyser. We entertained at the VA Hospitals in Southern California.
I saw men on those wards that perhaps a small child of 5 should never have seen. I found people I spoke to who were touched by the experiences of the older adults talking how it felt to be in a war when they saw my preview clip and heard my story. The audience had their own stories to share. Many of the older adults told me they hadn’t thought about those early years for many years. One woman came to me as I left the venue and told me she was from Denmark. Her story was that her Dad left their home each night, she knew he slept with a gun beside his bed, and returned home by morning It was only later in life that she was told he was a member of the Danish underground who used fishing boats at night to transport Jews out of Denmark to safety. She began her story in tears, then went into a sense of pride about her father and what her country had gone through in the war. That sense of fulfillment can be rekindled by supporting our veterans as we did after the end of WWII.
History needs to be shared, and how wonderful to hear from the people who lived it. Many people today know nothing about WWII, really don’t even know who was in it?? Unbelievable? The “war effort” as we called it inspired us to experience loss and sacrifice, willingly. The same effort and support can be put toward building a bridge between the adults now in their 60s and 70s who had the experience of WWII and the new veterans. They will come home to a new country where there is less opportunity, and less funding for the veterans organizations. It is my passion and purpose to close that gap and to educate, entertain, and inspire everyone to step up one more time and create a new attitude of support toward our veterans. One that reaches out with hope, help, and gratitude.