KAYSVILLE — The “Greatest Generation” is hoping that a new generation will come along and take that title from them, said L. Tom Perry, the featured speaker at the annual Memorial Day program in Kaysville’s cemetery.
Perry, a veteran of World War II and a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, listed the traits that made his generation great.
Because they came of age during the Great Depression and World War II, he said his generation became united in a common purpose and they learned duty, honor, economy, service and love of family and country.
Above all, he said, they learned respect for ones’ self.
Perry was on his mission in Ohio when the U.S. entered the war, and said he saw people “flock to church.”
“Every man, woman and child were united behind their country, praying and working to do their part for this great nation,” he said.
When speaking of his experience in the war, he said that after a battle had ended, seeing the United States flag raised on a temporary pole was a “beautiful sight.”
In the years since the war, he said succeeding generations have moved away from the unity and faith that defined his generation, and have become more fractured.
“Maybe we should revive some of that basic teaching,” he said.
Perry quoted from Samual Adams and Benjamin Franklin, from the Declaration of Independence and from the words of Abraham Lincoln.
He went on to give an overview of the 10 Commandments, which, he said, taught a belief in the sovereignty of God, the dignity of work and respect for parents and for others’ life, spouse, property and name.
He referenced the teachings of Matthew in the New Testament, who taught the importance of treating others as we want to be treated.
With his trademark dynamism, he emphasized that the home is the place, more than churches, schools or government, where basic teaching should occur.
Perry said he has in his office some containers with sand from Iwo Jima and Saipan, places he served when in the Marines, to remind him of the great sacrifice of those with whom he served, who were part of that “Great Generation.”
“Will they be able to say the same of us?” he asked. “Let us realize the heritage they have given us,” he said, and have “the courage to do that which is right before God.”