The Next Greatest Generation

The chal­lenges that face our generation are com­plex and numerous.

This moment in his­tory has given us a bro­ken health care sys­tem and a newfound aware­ness of the energy crisis.

Our broth­ers and sis­ters are on the front lines of two wars in a region on the other side of the world that has been fight­ing for more than a cen­tury. The rest of us are on the front lines of an eco­nomic upheaval that threat­ens our way of life. While the coun­try strug­gles, blame is dis­trib­uted and fin­gers are pointed, but to us, there is no time for blame. We have this time to begin our life’s work.

Our grand­chil­dren and great grand­chil­dren won’t look upon Tom Brokaw’s WWII era heroes quite the same way we do. The strug­gles of that time period will seem a world away. It is our his­tory that they will read as years turn to decades and the first-hand accounts of the sacrifices made become pages in high school textbooks. A great tragedy, this loss, but a marked and not uncommon transition as the continuation of a culture shifts.

It will be our suc­cess and fail­ure that they, our posterity, will rec­og­nize; our action to improve upon the world that we have been given that will speak to our legacy.

Already, our peers are mak­ing the changes we need. Organizing to fight hunger and elim­i­nat­e dis­eases. We will demand a clean earth and forgo imme­di­ate wealth with the under­stand­ing that the long-term value will be far greater than we can imagine.

In this pin­na­cle of our soon to be his­tory, we will stand strong. We will remind the gen­er­a­tion pre­ced­ing us that the earth is in capa­ble hands. We will teach those still to come that this gift of free­dom is not to be taken for granted.

We are a gen­er­a­tion that will treat the ill. All of them. We are a gen­er­a­tion that will define a sys­tem of envi­ron­men­tally fea­si­ble and renew­able energy. We are a gen­er­a­tion that will bring peace and restructure the economy to better weather the squalls and celebrate the gains.

The chal­lenges are great and many, but they are not unfamiliar. For centuries Americans have shown that neither obstacle nor defeat, nor fear cannot be vanquished. This is our time, our oppor­tu­nity. We will be the era our grand­chil­dren will read about, the gen­er­a­tion that they will look to as mod­els of integrity and grace.

We will be the next great­est generation.

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The content above has been revised and expanded from the original publication.