That’s what they call the men and women who served during World War II. Many of them, thousands in fact, enlisted to fight after Pearl Harbor was attacked. They tell me they enlisted simply because of a sense of duty. Some of the men I talked with tonight were enrolled in college, sophomores or freshmen in 1942.
Staying in college they could have missed out on going to Europe or the Pacific. They would be allowed to stay enrolled and then once they graduated the armed services would likely draft them as officers. By staying in school, they might would have missed the war entirely. It could have been over by the time they graduated (it would have been over for some). Instead though, they felt a sense of duty to serve. In some of their college classes there would be 20 female students and only 5-6 male students.
One man told me tonight he just couldn’t stay behind as his friends were going off to war. Since his dad wouldn’t agree, he stopped going to classes and forced the dean to kick him out of school. Once he was out, he was drafted.
I’m hearing some fascinating stories and once I get back, I’ll put together a 2-5 minute demonstration of the documentary I hope to produce and then use it to find financing for a 1 hour documentary.
One other thing struck me today, this about the current generation of 20-somethings.
Sitting beside me on the flight from Memphis to Pittsburgh was a young girl, I figured to be about 23-25 years old. She’s a college counselor at the University of Pittsburgh. She was flying back home after volunteering for the Red Cross in south Mississippi.
She told me she was moved to do something while watching tv coverage of the aftermath of Katrina. The school wouldn’t give her any time off so she took her entire 2-week vacation.
Maybe there’s something good about this generation too.