The title of "Greatest Generation" was invented by journalist Tom Brokaw in his 1998 book of the same name.  In it he says:

it is, I believe, the greatest generation any society has ever produced"

Tom was writing about the generation of Americans that fought in World War II.  He stated that these brave men and women fought not for fame and recognition, but because it was the right thing to do.  Of course he wrote this 19 years ago.

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Around the same time Mr. Brokaw's book was published, another very influential and powerful generation was in it's infancy (literally).  That generation is achieving adulthood now, and has been catching a lot of flack for being narcissistic, shallow, technologically dependent, and lazy.  I believe that this label is not fair, and leads people to believe that this generation isn't "great" at all.

The generation that fought in World War II was definitely great, and if they hadn't fought the spread of Fascism, it would have spread it's evil all over the world.  There is no question about that in my mind.  The question that does beg an answer is this:  Has the current generation given less?

Before the first peacetime draft in American history that was instituted in September 16, 1940 - the standing volunteer army was 334,473.  The number of soldiers, Marines, and sailors exploded by the end of the war, finally totaling 12,209,238.  The number of draftees from 1941-1945 totaled 11,535,000 - or more than 61% of the total number of military that served during that time.  Comparatively, in 2007 (the beginning of the "Troop Surge" during the 2nd military action in Iraq) the number of voluntarily enlisted troops was 1,379,551.  It also needs to be considered that global terrorism is a very difficult enemy nail down in any one country, which makes it very difficult to fight effectively.

When it comes to innovation, it's difficult to pick a clear leader.  While the generation that fought the Nazis brought us the microwave, the birth of space travel, penicillin, and radar - the millennials have brought us social media, Google, drones, surgical robotics, GPS and so much more.

So, were the baby boomers the greatest generation?  Or does that title now belong to the Millennials?

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