The Greatest Generation

By Ed Nicholson

Please indulge me as I go off-topic today (the first time in almost two years).

My Dad is a personal hero. He’s done some incredibly heroic things in his life, not the least of which was flying missions as a tail-gunner/radio operator in a Navy TBF torpedo bomber from carriers in the Pacific in 1944-45. He wrote a memoir about the experiences which I posted here. As I’ve matured, I’ve come to respect the sacrifices he and his generation have made.

So it was with both pride and  humility that I attended the announcement today of the inaugural Honor Flight from Northwest Arkansas, sponsored by local companies, Tyson Foods and Wal-Mart, which will take a planeload of vets to D.C. to visit the WWII Memorial.   Kudos to Tyson Director of Aviation, Bill McKenzie  for taking the lead on this project and putting the flight together.  We’re hopeful they can occur on a regular basis.

John Little, a veteran of the Invasion of Normandy,  who now lives in Kingston, Arkansas, and will be a passenger on the first Northwest Arkansas Honor Flight, spoke at the announcement today.  His story, is moving, powerful, and inspiring.

This is a generation of men and women that has survived adversity most of us can only imagine.  They’ve done it with incredible courage, honor and dignity, and many of them have been all too quiet about their experiences.  They’re leaving us very quickly.  Their stories deserve to be heard and preserved.

If you are close to someone from this generation–whether they served in the military or not–I urge you to sit them down and get them to talk about their life.  Put a video camera or tape recorder in front of them.  You’ll be glad you did.