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A Letter to a Younger Generation (Mine included) Thumbnail

A Letter to a Younger Generation (Mine included)

I'm not sure who wrote the message below, as I've seen it pop up on numerous websites, always uncredited.

In light of the extraordinarily tough spring we've all endured, and now the abhorrent violence spreading throughout many of our great American cities, I thought this important message should be shared as a reminder of the challenges our parents and grandparents lived through and overcame.

For a small amount of perspective at this moment, imagine you were born in 1900. 

On your 14th birthday, World War I starts, and ends on your 18th birthday.  22 million perish in that war.  Later in the year, a Spanish flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until your 20th birthday.  50 million people die from it in those two years.  Yes, 50 million. 

On your 29th birthday, the Great Depression begins.  Unemployment hits 25%, the world GDP drops 27%.  That runs until you are 33.  The country nearly collapses along with the world economy. 

When you turn 39, World War II starts.  You aren't even over the hill yet and don't even try to catch your breath.  On your 41st birthday, the United States is fully pulled into WWII.  Between your 39th and 45th birthday, 75 million people perish in the war. 

Smallpox was an epidemic until you were in your 40's and it killed 300 million people during your lifetime. 

At 50, the Korean War starts, 5 million perish.  From your birth until you are 55, you dealt with the fear of Polio epidemics each summer.  You experience friends and family contracting Polio and being paralyzed and/or die. 

At 55 the Vietnam War begins and doesn't end for another 20 years.  4 million people perish in that conflict. 

During the Cold War, you lived each day with the fear of nuclear annihilation.  On your 62nd birthday, you have the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tipping point in the Cold War.  Life on our planet, as we know it, almost ended. 

When you turn 75, the Vietnam War finally ends. 

Think of everyone on the planet born in 1900.  How did they endure all of that?  When I was a kid in 1985, I didn't think my 85 year old grandparents understood how hard school was or how mean that kid in class was.  Yet they survived through everything listed above. 

Perspective is an amazing art.  Refined and enlightening as time goes on.  Let's try and keep things in perspective.  Our parents and grandparents were called to endure all of the above while in the wars or, if lucky, just working.  

"People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors."

~Edmund Burke, from Reflections on the Revolution in France


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