Quotes from the “Greatest Generation”

I’ve been watching The Right Stuff on television this rainy afternoon – and the men and women portrayed in that movie reminded me of the values, courage, and strength of my own parents – who were, like the astronauts and their wives, members of the “greatest generation.” My musings led me to dig up some quotes from my parents’ generation (and please feel free to add any quotes you find that you think would go well here)…

You do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can’t, you do the next best thing. You back up but you don’t give up.
– Chuck Yeager (b. 1923)

My faith demands – this is not optional – my faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference.
– Jimmy Carter (b. 1924)

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
– Nelson Mandela (b. 1918)
I hope you’re proud of yourself for the times you’ve said ‘yes,’ when all it meant was extra work for you and was seemingly helpful only to somebody else.
– Mr. Rogers (b. 1928)

I can’t imagine a person becoming a success who doesn’t give this game of life everything he’s got.
– Walter Cronkite (b. 1916)

You never get tired unless you stop and take time for it.
– Bob Hope (b. 1903)

Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get – only with what you are expecting to give – which is everything.
– Katherine Hepburn (b. 1907)

Tough times don’t last, tough people do, remember?
– Gregory Peck (b. 1916)

Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing a Jimmy Stewart imitation myself. I’d like people to remember me as someone who was good at his job and seemed to mean what he said.
– Jimmy Stewart (b. 1908)

You’re blessed if you have the strength to work.
– Mahalia Jackson (b. 1911)

I believe in living each day as it comes, to the best of my ability. When it’s done, I put it away, remembering that there will be a tomorrow to take its place.
– Ginger Rogers (b. 

I love to laugh. It’s the only way to live. Enjoy each day – it’s not coming back again!
– Doris Day (b. 1922)

Getting old is not for sissies.
– Bette Davis (b. 1908)

People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things.
– Sir Edmund Hillary (b. 1919)

Why shouldn’t I be polite to other people? It doesn’t cost me anything.
– Dee Molenaar (b. 1918)

Said to the bigot in the Sears store: That family has as much right to be here as you or me! 
– Colleen “Moz” Molenaar (b. 1927)



An Upright Generation

… he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper… Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.
– Psalms 

“What are the things that you can’t see that are important? I would say justice, truth, humility, service, compassion, love. You can’t see any of those, but they’re the guiding lights of life.” 
– Jimmy Carter

This week I learned that Win passed away “in his sleep.” His daughter wrote to tell us that he was “happy and healthy” and that his passing was a “beautiful demonstration of the Science that he loved.” Win was a month away from 96 at the time of his passing, so it wasn’t really surprising to get this news. But I feel his loss, just the same.


Winston Banko, 1920 to 2016

Oddly, he and his late wife, Connie, had been a lot on my mind recently. A more charming couple you would never meet. They sparkled. Win was witty and smart and dashing – renowned for his ornithological studies (click here to learn more about Win’s life) . Connie was lively and pretty and fun. They both had a great sense of humor and wonderful laughter, and I never left their company without a smile on my face and a heart warmed by their kindness.

I’d met them when I moved to this area more than thirty years ago and began attending the local Christian Science church. They were among my first friends here. I immediately took to them. They were of my parents’ generation and shared a remarkably lot in common with my parents – they, like my parents, were avid nature-lovers. Like my parents, they were cultured, and well-read, and had a wonderful sense of humor about life. All of them had survived the Great Depression, and Win and my dad (click here to learn more about Dad’s life) had both served in World War II. When I’m with people of that generation I always feel safe and secure – I know I’m with people who have survived times of great upheaval and challenge and have come through these times wiser and braver and kinder. The people of my parents’ generation have always seemed invincible to me, somehow. 

But they’re leaving us now. My dad will be 98 in another month. My mom is not too far behind him. And I guess it’s time for my generation to move to the helm of the ship, but… yikes, right?! I don’t think I’m ready for The Greatest Generation to leave us just  yet. I want them to hang around with us a little longer and help us get through the challenges looming on our national horizon. 

Yup. I have to admit that there’s a wistful part of me that would like to see The Greatest Generation’s Jimmy Carter run for President again. Now THERE is an upright man…