This is a part of a letter I wrote to Tom Brokaw in January, 1999. Its subject was his book on the “greatest generation.” However, perhaps it is as applicable today as it was then. The idealism mentioned is that of the members of that incredible World War II generation.

“I suppose that my wish for all would be a return to that same idealism, that same level of commitment, that same ambition, but with all of it tempered by a belief in the value of humanity in its totality.”

My question was simply this: Can the goal of the now illusive “great American dream” be achieved if we lose sight of the importance of family over work, and of community conscience and consciousness over material self-improvement?

Mr. Brokaw’s response was to thank me for sharing my perspective on that era.

In looking back at that letter, I especially like the belief in the value of humanity in its totality. In today’s terminology, I guess that means being inclusive rather than exclusive.

You might forgive me for this outrageous idea if you know my astrological sign is Pisces. I tend to be an idealistic, perhaps unrealistic, dreamer.