If you visit the mall in Washington, D.C., you will see our newest national monument, the National World War II Memorial. It is expansive, featuring marble and fountains and columns and beautiful landscaping. It’s a grand celebration of the greatest generation America has ever produced.
There is some important symbolism that is often missed with this memorial. While the Second World War came before them, the monuments for the veterans of Korea and Vietnam were actually built first. Years before this generation was honored, more recent events were memorialized.
How appropriate. This generation was raised during the depression, when neighbors personally sacrificed to keep friends from starving. Just as that crisis was ending, the men left to fight evil on foreign soil, while the women laced up their boots and worked in this country’s industry. After the war, they brought America to historical levels of prosperity, while saving the economies of the very people they had just defeated. Then they raised a new generation, and lived their lives well, and all the while, stayed quiet about the price they paid to do such great things for our world.
Even though many of its honorees never lived to see its completion, it is so very appropriate that it was the last war memorial to be built. Just like the memorial they inspired, this amazing generation always put others first and themselves last. Thankfully, Jesus taught us that in the end, “the last shall be first.”