THE ROBERT W. WHITAKER ARCHIVE

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POOR BABIES! | 2003-11-08

If you want to know how the World War II generation looks at itself, look at Bob Dole's favorite picture of himself.

You have seen that picture at least twenty times. It shows Bob Dole as a young man in his hospital bed, back to the camera, all alone with his war injury. He is lying in bed, and no one is there.

Actually, Dole's entire home town of Lawrence, Kansas threw itself behind the young man who had been injured in the War. But the picture Dole's generation likes is the one of him all alone and forgotten, the Silent Hero.

No generation of Americans has ever been less forgotten than the one that calls itself The Greatest Generation. Those who fought in World War One received no veterans' benefits at all. The veterans of Vietnam were reviled, the heroes of the Korean War were forgotten.

But only the Greatest Generation Truly Suffered.