With Queen Elizabeth, the Greatest Generation Says Goodbye

(AP Photo/Bob Daugherty, file)

Ever since Cain told Adam and Eve, “Yeah — what do you know, and how should I know where Abel is?” every generation spends its youth firmly convinced its conceptualizations regarding The Way Things Ought To Be are the sum total of all wisdom. Experience? Totally unnecessary. Who needs it, when we talked about this in class last week? With all the hubris of Bullwinkle preparing to pull a rabbit out of a hat, each generation proudly proclaims it possesses all the answers, so outta the way, old fogies; watch us save the world!


Every generation also learns, albeit 15 minutes too late, that not only does it not have all the answers, it doesn’t have so much as the questions right. Armed at long last with true wisdom, the generation in question attempts imparting this knowledge to the next generation … which, even as the now imparting ones did to their preceding generation, ignores them. Because they already have all the answers.

In recent history, there has been a generation that might not have had all the answers, but it had all imaginable challenges thrown in its face, yet emerged triumphant. It was the one that grew up in the 1930s and 1940s, first buffeted by the Great Depression and then dragged into the Second World War, one that made the first seem like a disagreement on seating arrangements at a high tea social. This generation won the war, went home, made a whole bunch of babies, AKA Boomers, currently being blamed for all the world’s problems–and then started taking their leave, after a job far better done than for which the clenched little self-satiated social justice warriors pretending to be historians are willing to give them credit.

Queen Elizabeth’s passing is a sobering reminder that those once taken for granted due to their omnipresence — namely, the Greatest Generation — have now dwindled to a precious few. Forget the imbeciles screaming about colonialism, something Elizabeth had nothing to do with. Remember that when there were world problems far outstripping hurt feelings and illusionary oppression on social media, then-Princess Elizabeth was a legitimate badass.


When Princess Elizabeth turned 18 in 1944, she insisted upon joining the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), the women’s branch of the British Army. For several years during the war, Britain had conscripted women to join the war effort. Unmarried women under 30 had to join the armed forces or work on the land or in industry. King George made sure that his daughter was not given a special rank in the Army. She started as a second subaltern in the ATS and was later promoted to Junior Commander, the equivalent of Captain.

Princess Elizabeth began her training as a mechanic in March 1945. She undertook a driving and vehicle maintenance course at Aldershot, qualifying on April 14. Newspapers at the time dubbed her “Princess Auto Mechanic.” There were a wide range of jobs available to female soldiers in the ATS as cooks, telephonists, drivers, postal workers, searchlight operators, and ammunition inspectors. Some women served as part of anti-aircraft units, although they were not allowed to fire the guns. The jobs were dangerous, and during the course of the war, 335 ATS women were killed and many more injured. By June 1945, there were around 200,000 members of the ATS from across the British Empire serving on the home front and in many overseas theaters of war.

Not all of the Greatest Generation is gone, but most have already taken their leave. Queen Elizabeth was the last world leader remaining from the Great Depression and war days. She conducted herself throughout with grace, something the Meghan Markles of this world cannot claim. She also conducted herself with humor.


Godspeed, Your Majesty.


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