Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Generation Passing

Tom Brokaw called them "The Greatest Generation." They grew up during the Great Depression and came of age just in time to face World War II. The young men fought in Europe and across the Pacific. The women filled the labor gap at home, kept families going, and joined the armed services as support personnel, nurses, and pilots who delivered planes to the war zones. So many died in the war. The survivors came home, went to college, built businesses, worked hard, raised families, and tried to give their children easier lives than they had had themselves.

The recent death of our uncle Leonard, who passed just a few days before his 92nd birthday, has me thinking about the greatest generation members of my family. Only two remain--two dear aunts, both in their 90s.

In our family we had members (both blood relatives and by-marriage relatives) in every branch of the military. Uncle Joseph Philip Mackey--Navy; Uncle William Boyce Mackey--SeaBees; Aunt Cornelia Elizabeth Mackey--Army Nurse; Uncle Leonard R. Sauble--Army Air Force; Father A.G. McLaughlin--Army; Uncle Lee Tyrrell--Marines.

Those left at home kept things going, raising families, teaching school, ranching and farming (providing meat, wool, and farm commodities), and sending love and encouragement to those in the military. Our family was one of the lucky ones--friends were lost, but all our family members survived the war.

Here are some of our Greatest Generation.

C. Elizabeth (Bess)  Mackey Sauble and Leonard Sauble

Willaim Boyce Mackey, with very young Me

A.G. "Red" Mclaughlin, Rose McLaughlin,
Elsie Tyrrell and Lee Tyrrell

Joe Mackey with his sisters and mother. The way his sisters all are touching Joe
tells me  that they are very aware of the dangers he would be going back to. Joe
was on a ship in the Pacific that was sunk by the Japanese. Though he spent some
time in the water, he was rescued and continued to serve throughout the war. He
stayed in the Navy for about 30 years.
As the generations that were my grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles pass on, I realize that my sisters and I are now the elder generation. We have lived through many turbulent times, but nothing on the scale of the Great Depression and World War II. We have seen huge social changes in our country; some of these are very much for the good and should be celebrated, others seem to be undermining the moral and ethical fiber of our nation. What will our generation leave behind us?


  1. Who can say, but we are trying to raise 2 girls who will leave this world a better place.

    1. Dedicated parents like you two are the hope for the future!