The Greatest Generation

I always think about the people that were born around the last decade of the 19th Century. They were close to their early teens when Orville and Wilbur Wright taught us to fly. They were around 80 when Neil Armstrong took us to the stars. They saw both the beginning of flight and its ultimate expression in space. They were in awe of the wood and fabric and wires doing what up until that time, only God’s creatures could do. They experienced the power and majesty of metal and chemicals and fire shot into the vacuum of space — a place were none of God’s creatures could go.

But they are all gone now. And even though we have the photos and movies of these things, they lived through them when both were new. Only they had the experience for the ages.

My mother’s mother was one. And, until the day she died, she knew how special her place in history was.

I don’t know if there will ever be another leap in technology like those 70 years. Think about that — less than 70 years from first flight to walking on the moon. Think of all the people that tried to fly before the Wrights. All of those centuries of dreaming and scheming and trial and error and getting SO CLOSE but falling at the finish line only to see two bicycle dealers pull it off. And then someone snaps their fingers and Neil Armstrong is walking on the moon.

Sometimes, it’s like a vacation post card. Wish I was there…for both.


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