Adele R. Haas: Each generation rises to meet challenges - The Buffalo News
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Adele R. Haas: Each generation rises to meet challenges

In the May 19 News, there were two adjoining articles that both addressed uncertain times for the young. The first was: “Region’s college graduates encouraged to embrace ‘uncertain future.’ ” The second was: “World War II paratrooper’s closest call comes from an artillery shell – right in the chest.” An uncertain future for both, except that the possibility of death faced the 19-year-old paratrooper. The graduates of 2014 are facing uncertain times as well, but at least the times appear to be better and safer.

At any graduation, it behooves the speaker to solemnly remind those fresh faces that it is their turn, and that with their talent, energy and enthusiasm, the world is their oyster.

Each generation has its challenges, and you find that you are locked into your time. My parents’ generation was indelibly marked by World War I, when they were children. They also went through the Depression in the early 1930s when they were newly married and raising their families.

When the brave young men returned from World War II to quietly resume their lives in an uncertain time, they enjoyed freedom in the country they served after so much personal sacrifice. To them we will always be indebted and grateful.

My generation had its own challenges. We were children during World War II. We grew up with rationing of food, shoes and gasoline. We helped by gathering metal in drives to collect materials essential to the war effort. We ducked under our desks during air raid drills. And I remember doing my patriotic duty. When sailing on the Canadiana on an outing to Crystal Beach, I did my best to look out for enemy submarines. Luckily for me, a ship full of grammar school children was not considered a threat to the Germans.

We had friends and relatives who fought in the war. We grieved with our families and friends for those who were killed and never came back for their time, their turn.

In 1955, after he had finished graduate school, my husband was drafted and then served his time in the Army. My children were babies when President John F. Kennedy was shot. As I look back now on events, I wonder, how does anyone ever get through his time?

I do not doubt that the current graduates would also step up to serve their country. We are all part of a wonderful heritage passed down to us by previous generations who love their country. Their sacrifices brought us to a time when graduates can go directly out into the world, work hard and do their best.

My grandsons are among the many current graduates for whom we wish the best. We love them, we will worry about them but we want them to know it will be fine. The many shoulders that have carried us this far have been strong, and theirs will be, too.

It has been better, it has been worse. It has been easier, it has been harder. Whatever you are handed, grab the brass ring and do your best. This is your time, your turn. Good luck, our fingers are crossed for you as we wish you love, safety and happiness in all you do.

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