If you’re in your 30s, then your parents raised you through the global financial crisis, SARS, the bursting of the tech bubble, and 9/11. They saw two wars in Iraq, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and Black Monday. If you’re in your 40s, they experienced that and the crack epidemic, the AIDS epidemic, stagflation, Chernobyl, and the final saber rattling of the Cold War. If you’re in your 50s, then your parents raised you through Vietnam and Watergate and the Berlin Wall. If you’re in your 60s, they raised you through the Civil Rights movement, the counterculture revolution, the draft, Vietnam, the Kennedy assassinations, MLK’s assassination, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. If you’re older than that… well, now we’re getting into even headier territory: the war in Korea, the Iron Curtain, the Second World War, the Marshall Plan, and god knows what else.
You think that was easy? You think there weren’t moments where they shut the door and wept out of anger or fear? You think they didn’t spend a lot of nights sitting up in bed, talking quietly to their partner about what was going to happen, about how (and if) they were going to make it? They were scared. They were overwhelmed. They wondered what kind of world this was to bring you up in.
And then you know what? They put on a smiling face and made you breakfast. They went to work. They saved their money. They prepared for your future. They loved you. They protected you. They soldiered on.
You come from that tradition. You come from parents who didn’t have it easy… and grandparents who had it harder, and great-great-great grandparents who definitely had it worse. What we face today is tough. These are real economic, political, and medical crises. But we’ll get through it. We’ll get through it as our parents did. We’ll keep smiling. We’ll keep protecting. We’ll keep doing our job.
Because we have to. We have a tradition to uphold.