Tom Brokaw gave the Remembrance Day address at the Gettysburg Cemetery last Sunday, November 19. I was pleased to hear him in person. He is truly a master speaker and quite frankly a very real presence. He is a tall man, handsome still, and genuinely gracious to all who approached him personally, offering thanks much like a minister at the rear door after a service. Of all the network news anchors in my lifetime Brokaw is still my favorite.
Mr. Brokaw spoke about Lincoln’s time and ours since the occasion called for this comparison on the day that President Lincoln delivered The Gettysburg Address in 1863. He spoke of our “ideological zealots” who are willing to advance their narrow interests at the expense of the larger good of a just and good society. He referred to some politicians, in Lincoln’s time and our own, who are really “money changers in the Capital.” He then argued that it was “the common will to advance our common interests” that had always sustained America in dark times such as the Civil War. Consistent with his idea of “The Greatest Generation” Brokaw then said that he was more “impressed with those Americans who sacrificed something rather than those who simply lived life on the Web site of their convictions.” Ouch! I needed that reminder.
Lest you think Tom Brokaw doesn’t understand the great issues of our generation he concluded by telling us that the present generation was “engaged in a great struggle with Islamic rage.” He has real fear that we just don’t get it. We must keep asking, he said, “How can we really do better?”
I thought: "If this generation doesn’t soon become the awakened and selfless generation we may be the last generation that knows these blessings of freedom."
Tom Brokaw wisely concluded by telling us that “It is time to re-enlist as citizens.” Man, do I agree. If we will not awaken to the present danger of Islamic rage, and the determination of a handful of zealous and devoted Muslims to destroy us, we will soon wonder what happened to Western Civilization. The vast majority of Muslims seem to love peace, or so they keep telling us. They profess to want what you and I want in life. But many do not seem to be willing to recognize that their radical brothers are our very real and openly avowed enemies. I ask “why” these Muslims do not seem to get it. I have a few suggestions that I am still pondering. I plan to say a lot more about this in coming weeks. This will be the issue we face for the next twenty to thirty years. Modernists are consumed with financial and emotional security and many postmodernists don’t care since they seem to welcome the destruction of Western Civilization, believing rather that a global culture will be much better than a Western one rooted in Christian values developed for well over a century.