American Broadcaster and Author, Tom Brokaw, called them “The Greatest Generation”.
These were the men and women who were born in the 1920’s in the midst of the great depression. Their upbringing was hardscrabble.
When the time came for the western democracies to face down the evils of Naz-ism in Europe and expansionism (by Japan) in Asia, they rushed to enlist, or cheerfully responded when they were drafted.
They fought with courage and honour in “The Good War”.
Those who “made it” returned home to raise families, and they sacrificed yet again so that their children could “have it better”, and get educated.
I have known many of the folks of the “Greatest Generation”.
I think of the John and Doris Allen, with Art and Elizabeth Harrington in Pittsfield, MA; and of Ken and Mary Holmes in Cambridge, MA.
Chuck and Alice McClintock were also amongst these great folks. Chuck served in WWII, and returned to Pittsfield to work for “the G.E.” (General Electric), and with Alice to raise three daughters.
They were faithful “Saturday nighters” at St. Stephen’s in Pittsfield.
When I first made a pastoral call upon them, I noticed the bible next to Chuck’s chair. He was not overtly pious, but he and Alice loved the Christian Scriptures, and loved their Church.
It was my honour to invite Chuck to become a Lay Eucharistic Minister.
In due course the McClintocks moved to Sun City in Arizona. We stayed in touch, and I was twice able to visit with them there.
Alice and Chuck were married for 66 years. He passed from this life yesterday. His remains will be buried in a military cemetery in the Phoenix area.
Alice will return to Pittsfield to be near to her three daughters, and when her course is run, her remains will be planted alongside those of her beloved Chuck.
My heart rejoices in the men and women of the Greatest Generation who have taught me so much about dignity, honour, service, love of country, love of family, and deep love of God.
My heart grieves for Chuck. I shall not be able to see him again this side of “no man’s land”.