ARBOR WEALTH: Churchill, McCarthy, Omaha Beach and Bill Gates

Staff Writer
The Destin Log

“Let music swell the breeze, and ring from all the trees … sweet freedom’s song.” — From “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” as performed by Aretha Franklin

It was an uphill battle, and at times it seemed hopeless. They ran bombing missions over Germany and took shrapnel at Omaha Beach. They fought tank battles in the sands of North Africa and engaged in hand to hand combat in the Pacific theatre.

They didn’t do it alone, of course. Allies and foreign leaders like Churchill could have caved to the blitzkrieg. Instead he said, “Never give in ... never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” And they didn’t.

They persevered. And thank goodness. If they hadn’t, the Bill of Rights might have become a distant memory.

When the Axis Powers were finally defeated, they returned home and started families and business ventures; they built affordable housing for the masses; and they retooled factories and plants for domestic production. They moved west and made California the world’s eighth largest economy. They built the interstate highway system and provided affordable energy to Americans from Miami to Seattle.

It was a rich nation they created, but it was a generation that had fought and earned the right to be rich. Many of the veterans and their families had been touched in their early lives by the Great Depression. They wanted everything within their grasp, but they remembered what it was like to be without.

Theirs was a bustling, hustling, can-do culture. They gave us the Rat Pack, Dinah Shore, Count Basie and Doris Day; they gave us Jackie Robinson in Ebbets Field, and Yogi Berra and Joltin’ Joe; Citation, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Ben Hogan; they gave us “Twelve Angry Men”, “Vertigo” and “Some Like it Hot”.

They had admittedly lost their taste for confrontation (who wouldn’t have?), and when Joe McCarthy raised his ugly head, it took a while to discredit him. But they got it done. As was the custom of the day, they smoked to excess and probably drank too much and consumed too many fried foods. They were too slow to enact civil rights legislation. They built and drove gas guzzlers. And too often they treated the environment with casual disregard.

They were your parents and mine, and while they weren’t perfect, they kept free enterprise and economic freedom intact in the darkest of hours. Their sacrifices helped create an enormously wealthy nation, a country where anything was possible. Without them, there’d be no Mark Zuckerberg and no Bill Gates, no cell phones and no self-driving cars. Today, we reflect and marvel at their accomplishments.

For markets and an economy to flourish, first there has to be opportunity. They gave that to us. Thank you to all our veterans.

Margaret R. McDowell, ChFC, AIF, a syndicated economic columnist, is the founder of Arbor Wealth Management, LLC, (850-608-6121 —, a “fee-only” registered investment advisory firm located near Sandestin. This column should not be considered personalized investment advice and provides no assurance that any specific strategy or investment will be suitable or profitable for an investor.