Even before enlisting, World War II soldiers were made great by the “deprivations and lessons of the Great Depression,” Tom Brokaw writes in the Wall Street Journal. Shared sacrifice and lack of staple goods forged the outlook of the "Greatest Generation," and made the Army almost a relief. “So many veterans told me they got their first new pairs of shoes and boots when they enlisted."
“Their sacrifices at home and on the frontlines make our current difficulties look like a walk on the beach in comparison,” Brokaw writes. And we would do well to learn from them. “If we're to get through this time of crisis a better nation with a fundamentally stronger economy, we'd better learn how to work together and organize our lives around what we need—not just what we want.”