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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: From ‘Greatest Generation’ to greatest debtors

- - Wednesday, October 23, 2013

On Oct. 18, Col. Richard W. Asbury was laid to rest at Rock Island Arsenal National Cemetery in Illinois. Col. Asbury was a P-51 fighter pilot in World War II and one of the last living aces from that conflict. Arsenal employees lined Rodman Avenue in honor of Col. Asbury as he traveled to his final resting place; I was one of those Arsenal employees standing in honor of this member of the Greatest Generation.

The Greatest Generation was so named because of its extraordinary service and sacrifice. Its members didn't name themselves. That moniker was created in 1998, more than 50 years after the end of World War II, by journalist and author Tom Brokaw in a book by the same name. The name stuck because it fit what that generation had done in fighting Nazism and fascism.

As I stood on Rodman Avenue, I noticed others standing in honor of Col. Asbury, others of my generation. My generation is the one that has sold our children and grandchildren into a bondage of debt and has stolen from children not yet born so that we can have more "stuff" today. My generation has stolen a treasure worth $17 trillion and growing. Long after the things we have acquired is rotting in a landfill, our children and grandchildren will still be paying for it all. We stole from children and those not yet born because it was easy and because they couldn't fight back.

Fifty years from now, I wonder what they will call my generation.

JEFF WINDHAM

Bettendorf, Iowa