World War I

The Greatest Generation

The World War II era is often called 'the greatest generation.' It is a big tip of the hat to those vets, but it is also a tip of the hat to those who worked in the factories, farms, transport and recycling centers that made what happened on the front lines possible.


Listening to an interview on the radio of an author who has just published a book on the topic, the writer interviewed a number of those WWII vets and their families. Among his observations, was that here was a generation that wasn't asking for special recognition or accolades for what they did. They simply did what they had to do. Once the job was done, those who lived and could, went back to their every day lives.



Minutes after listening to the interview of the author, we pulled up to a shopping center and as we walked by a store, we saw this World War II vet in the framed photo below. He drove the modest car seen below the framed image we created of his photo.



greatest-generations-vet-car-posted-manufactured-housing-pro-news-mhpronews- (1)

Note the 'God bless America' flag on the side of the
WWII vet's (shown in the framed photo above) car.

Just as the author on the radio said, this vet spoke not a word when I asked him for his photo. He simply turned and gently, unassumingly smiled. He posed for the photo as requested. I thanked him, and he went on into the store.

In saying they were the greatest generation (the author said, 'they literally saved the world' from what would have happened if the Nazi's and Japanese had won the war) this should inspire our generation and all others! Their praise is not to take away from what the vets or citizens who followed did.

Like a record in sports, business or any other field, their record should inspire others to follow their example.

When I think about hardship today, vs what hardship looked like during the great depression, there is no doubt that most are far better off in material terms today than then. What we ought to ask ourselves is, are we better off in terms of the spirit and motivation that drives people to do and give their best daily?

Let the heroes of the past and present inspire you and yours to be and give your best! ##

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Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford

‘Patriotism done right’ – Kate Smith sings God Bless America for the first time

Irving Berlin wrote this song in 1917 for use during WWI.  Does anyone know why he did not release it then? No? Well, I will tell you. He thought it “too saccharine,” (sentimental) even for the horrific inferno that was WWI.

You will enjoy this and you younger folks will learn some history…

The link below will take you to a video showing the very first public singing of GOD BLESS AMERICA.

But, before you watch, you should also know the story of the song. The time was 1940. America was still in a terrible economic depression. Hitler was taking over Europe and Americans were afraid we’d have to go to war. It was a time of hardship and worry for most Americans.

This was the era just before TV, when radio shows were HUGE, and American families sat around their radios in the evenings, listening to their favorite entertainers, and no entertainer of that era was bigger than Kate Smith. Kate was also large in size, and the popular phrase still used today is in deference to her, “It Ain’t over till the fat lady sings.”

Kate Smith might not have made it big in the age of TV, but with her voice coming over the radio, she was the biggest star of her time. Kate was also very patriotic. It hurt her to see Americans so depressed and afraid of what the next day would bring. She had hope for America, and faith in her fellow Americans.

She wanted to do something to cheer them up, so she went to the famous American song- writer, Irving Berlin (also wrote “White Christmas”) and asked him to write a song that would make Americans feel good again about their country. When she described what she was looking for, he said he had just the song for her. He went to his files and found a song that he had written, but never published, 22 years before – way back in 1917. He gave it to Kate Smith and she worked on it with her studio orchestra. She and Irving Berlin were not sure how the song would be received by the public, but both agreed they would not take any profits from “God Bless America”… any profits would go to the Boy Scouts of America. Over the years, the Boy Scouts have received millions of dollars in royalties from this song. This video starts out with Kate Smith coming into the radio studio with the orchestra and an audience. She introduces the new song for the very first time, and starts singing. After the first couple verses, with her voice in the background still singing, scenes are shown from the 1940 movie, “You’re In The Army Now.”  At the 4:20 mark of the video you see a young actor in the movie, sitting in an office, reading a paper,  it’s Ronald Reagan. Frank Sinatra considered Kate Smith the best singer of her time, and said when he and a million other guys first heard her sing “God Bless America” on the radio, they all pretended to have dust in their eyes, as they wiped away a tear or two!

To this day, “God Bless America” stirs our patriotic feelings and pride in our country. Back in1940, When Kate Smith went looking for a song to raise the spirits of her fellow Americans, I doubt she realized just how successful the results would be for her fellow Americans during those years of hardship and worry, and for many generations of Americans to follow. Now that you know the story of the song, I hope you will enjoy it and treasure it even more.


(Editor’s noteThis blog post was submitted by a manufactured home community
operator who wishes to remain anonymous.)

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