A nation comes together

The weekend of June 5–6 marked two momentous events in the history of the United States: the 60th anniversary of D–Day, the Invasion of Normandy; and the passing of Ronald W. Reagan, the nation's 40th president. For many days, the media alternated between covering the celebrations going on in France, and running stories and interviews with people who worked for, knew, or reported on President Reagan. The one thematic thread that wove inevitably through the reporting on both of these landmark occasions was that the world is witnessing the passing of an era.

With the death of the former president, the world heard repeatedly that his passing signals the end of an age of optimism and hope. And as veterans of World War II, their ranks severely thinned since the 50th anniversary, gathered to commemorate the day they stormed ashore at Normandy and to honor their fallen comrades buried in France, reporters reminded viewers again and again that the veterans' advancing age and diminishing numbers mark the waning of a generation that somehow seems to have been more noble, less self–involved, and surer of their place in the world than any generation before or since.

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June 28, 2004

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