To the editor:
My parents' generation (they were born in 1908 and 1915) made sacrifices during World War II - (there was) no red dye, gas and sugar were rationed, people tended victory gardens, etc. That generation was keenly aware of the need to work together and to make collective sacrifices. They understood that serving the "common good" benefitted everyone.
I grew up with "Depression stories," and I recall my irritation when Dad and his friends told me, "You are so lucky, you can do anything!" I didn't know what I wanted to be or do. As it turned out, I have been very lucky - doors opened for women of my generation (I was born in 1948), and an expanding economy offered many opportunities. People who could save money were aided by interest rates as high as 18 percent.
But things aren't working out so well for my kids' generation, those between the ages of 18 and 35. Many of these young people have large debts from student loans, and the job market is unfriendly to many college graduates.
A large amount of the disparity in income in this country exists between generations, and it seems right and fair that those of us who have been blessed help out those who are struggling. Instead of "senior discounts," I'd like to see a progressive income tax, such as we had in the 1950s. I hope our elected representatives let the "Bush Tax Cuts" expire. They helped a lot of us who didn't need help, and our money is needed now to assist the younger generations as they come of age.
Another contribution my generation might make is a grateful and graceful exit, without weeks and months of unproductive medical procedures. Death is part of the marvelous process of nature that allows for change and improvement. Can you imagine a world with great-great-great grandparents, all telling us that life was better when they were young? A beautiful death takes planning and communication, but we're good at these things.
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Some people refer to my parents' generation as "The Greatest Generation," but I like to think the next generation is always the greatest because, if parents teach their children well, young people learn from good examples as well as mistakes.
We of the Baby Boom can honor our parents' struggle and sacrifice by doing all we can for those who follow us.
CAROLYN C. PETERSON