Tom Brokaw's book, The Greatest Generation, was a book of moral reflection and great insight. It did not merely allow the reader to "read" about the lives of World War II Veterans', but to experience them chapter by chapter. The stories of these men and women were unlike any I had ever read before. "These men and women came of an age in the Great Depression, when economic despair hovered over the land like a plague. They had watched their parents lose their businesses, their farms, their jobs [and] their hopes" (Brokaw XIX). Brokaw's 'greatest generation' covered both the despair of the war, and the glory of the returning Americans. It spoke of their courage during a time when little could be found. For this assignment, I have chosen to write about three important characters: Thomas Broderick, Johnnie Holmes, and Mary Louise Roberts Wilson. All who have exemplified qualities of a great generation. .
Thomas Broderick's initial experience with World War II began at age nineteen in 1942. During this time, Broderick was a premed student attending Xavier College in Cincinnati, who had decided to enlist in the Merchant Marines. "They gave us the best deal, if you didn't like it, you could quit" (Brokaw 18). After ten weeks of training and a mission to North Africa, Broderick decided he wanted to join the Airborne. After his second basic training session was over, Broderick decided to go over seas. It was when Broderick's unit shipped out to England as replacements for the 82nd Airborne men lost in the invasion at Normandy that his life was forever changed. "I remember being in the foxhole and.I was lining up my aim on a German. I got a little high in the foxhole and I got shot clean through the head - through the left temple" (Brokaw 19). This mistake was one that would leave Broderick blind and change his life forever. After months of denial and despair, Broderick decided he had to learn Braille.