The Greatest Generation Project or G2P is an oral history project to respect, remember and record the voices of Maine’s Greatest Generation while there is still an opportunity to do so.
Of all of the wars in recent memory, it was World War II that truly threatened our very existence as a nation—and as a culturally diverse, free society. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 640 WWII veterans die each day. Our time to express our thanks, and capture the wisdom, perspective and memories to these brave men and women is running out.
The reference to World War II era United States citizens, as the greatest generation, is first attributed to the journalist and former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw. In his 1998 book entitled The Greatest Generation, he reflected the incredible achievements and humble demeanor of the WWII generation. Though everyone may not agree, no one can dispute the transformative events this generation experienced and how they were willing to sacrifice and perservhere and remain committed no matter what.
World War II began in 1939. In the early years, the United States remained neutral. However, all that changed on December 7, 1941 when Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese. Not only did the United States enter the war, but the entire nation came together. The support from this generation began instantaneously after the bombing. Hundreds of thousands of men voluntarily enlisted in the United States military. Throughout the war, their service and sacrifice was nothing short of extraordinary.
When World War II ended, the work of the greatest generation continued. Military service members returned home and took part in the expansion of the American economy using the values they had learned and lived – personal accountability and responsibility, duty, honor and faith.
Over the years, some have spoken openly about their involvement, while others chose not to recount their experiences. Their piece of history would die (or died) when they did. Even today, if you ask some of the veterans from this generation about their service, you will often hear something along this line: “I’m not a hero. The real heroes are the ones who didn’t make it home.”
The Greatest Generation Project or G2P is a effort to give a voice to those heroes. G2P wants to recognize, record and remember the accomplishments, the incredible patriotism and results of this WWII generation achieved through their unselfish efforts so that future generations can honor, remember, and be inspired for years to come.