Many of us, actually 72 million, belong to a club called the baby boomers. I am a bona fide, original member of this generational tribe.
My father, Ray Walker, was a member of another club, the greatest generation. I like the title of his better, but they deserved it, because they were. After surviving the Great Depression, they marched to war. They served our country with depths of heroism we can’t even understand.
When World War II ended, a celebration swept over this country. Those that survived the war came home to open arms, laughter, tears and an appreciation for life. They always remembered, however, their brave comrades that never again saw American shores.
Ray Walker — and those that were of his generation — never forgot the sacrifice that was made for his country and our constitution. He understood the value of money. He never passed a penny on the ground he didn’t pick up and be quite thankful for the find.
My father died being a proud, active member of his great generation. Then, he waltzed with honor and peace into the welcoming arms of God.
The first baby boomers came into the world beginning in 1946 with big bands playing in the background and homes filling with bundles of joy cradled in their parent’s arms.
These parents worked hard and grew this country through industry and waves of growth. Their toil resulted in their children being able to finish high school and, in record numbers, attend college.
Our club began to join hands as we grew to endure the Cuban missile crisis, the Cold War, bomb shelters, assassinations of great leaders, protests and the Vietnam War.
We believed we could outdo the greatest generation. We knocked establishment policies, we championed civil rights, we raised “awareness” on just about everything. We believed in equality, we changed laws, we traveled through space, we traveled the world and we became the wealthiest generation. We found cures for diseases and inventions that would change our planet forever. And, of course, we created the best music.
We have rocked and rolled and danced and played all the way to AARP and Medicare.
Depending on what you read about our club we are either the greedy, vain, “Me” generation of narcissism that only cares about possessions and our own world; or, we are the most caring in what we are able to give away to others over the world.
To be perfectly truthful, we are both. We are now considered the “establishment” that we used to protest against. We have put our country in such debt it is hard to look at our children. The very ones that joined hands in youth are now torn into so many factions it is hard to recognize our club.
We complain too much, have left our religions in droves, and we have gotten caught up in a belief that the world is worse off now because of something or someone other than the 72 million that comprise us.
Congress is primarily baby boomers. Many leaders of corporations and powerful lobbyist are baby boomers. Those running for our highest office are, primarily, card carrying Boomer members.
Maybe now is the time for the boomers to join hands again and raise our standards for membership.
Do our standards need to go back to the basics we started with? Could we be like the Ray Walkers of the world and understand a penny is still valuable?
Don’t we still need to work together for a strong, sound government to pay homage to those who died for this country? Don’t we need to go to our offices and remember that success is not measured in money, but in how we obtain it?
Is it too late to march, protest or change?
God never told us to sit down. We need to be involved, fit, fearless and sharp. Get off the couch and move.
We have got to stop labeling each other black, white, turquoise or purple. All colors died in wars while defending us. God loves our soul, not our color.
We are not just conservatives and liberals, we are brothers and sisters. We are America.
Boomers, we are now outnumbered for the first time by millennials. We are becoming older, but let’s not let a number define us or a mirror tell us who we are.
Why not leave a legacy that when our grandchildren remember us, it is with honor?
Let’s vote in droves. Let’s continue to fight for rights for all people. Let’s stand tall, act with wisdom and go back to the roots of our boomer heritage.
Return to faith, return to charity, let our hearts move us and not our anger or divisiveness. Let’s remember the celebration that heralded us into the world and why.
Let’s join hands, save our children and grandchildren, put on our bell bottoms, wear a flower in our hair and then … let’s rock and roll home, with honor, into the welcoming arms of God.
Lynn Walker Gendusa is a former LaGrange resident who currently resides in Roswell.