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A tribute to "Greatest Generation"

Published July 07. 2012 09:01AM

Dear Editor:

The plain truth: To my friend "JIGGS WATKINS" and 'LEFTY" who have a lot in common. Both are World War II veterans. As I immerse myself in this essay as a way to show a sense of deep respect and that they will never be forgotten.

To Jiggs, with his special personality, and Lefty, with his remarkable reserved quietness.

Jiggs would often call me and talk about his experience in Rome, he witnessed Pope Pius XII at the Vatican, with outstretched hands blessing our troops.

Lefty almost never talked about his experience. I do know he was in London when "Hitlers Buzz Bomb" caused havoc on troops and civilians alike. Her survived, departed for Germany, to witness the horror of war. Lefty, by the way is my brother.

Jiggs and Lefty are members of the "Greatest Generation," who came of age in the "Great Depression," served abroad during World War II and then built the nation we have today. They keep their stories of bravery and sacrifice, achievement and humility, loyalty and service to themselves.

Members of that generation, characteristically are modest and yet quietly proud of what they have achieved individually and collectively, and proud also to have their accomplishments recognized at this stage of their lives.

It was common trait of the "Greatest Generation" not to discuss the difficult times and how those times shaped their lives. But now, in their twilight years, I have come to realize that there are still so many stories to be told, so many lessons to be learned from even the briefest recollections of that time of deprivation and war, heroism and belief, uncertainty and peril.

I feel privileged to have the opportunity to share a few thoughts about those of the "Greatest Generation." There often is humor in the most difficult situations. Being an "Octogenarian" myself, I know what it's like getting old. So, try to digest the last words of this letter!

You should live every day like its your last day because one day you're going to be right.

Joseph L. Koperna,

Tamaqua, Pa.

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