As we reflect on the anniversary of the end of World War II, I hope we will pause and consider all the contributions in war and in peace of the greatest generation. They fought for us in that war and through the hardest of times.

The abiding story of the greatest generation, and the lesson to be learned, is how to gather for ourselves that toughness, the scrap and scrabble of spirit that this special generation carried with them. As they faced the fear of those times, they learned not to be intimidated by fear, or to take its counsel. “The only way around is through,” some old wisdom tells us. In many ways, this describes the greatest generation in a nutshell, buoyed by hope along the way when they hit what my dad, a member of the greatest generation, called those dips in the road.

Buddy Graham, another member of the greatest generation and the father of my wife, Janet, his only child, was one of thousands of foot soldiers in World War II. He was in the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944), the last great offensive of the German army in World War II and one of those defining battles when victory hung in the balance.

When he died, Janet found in his wallet a folded-up piece of paper.

This article was originally written by Mike Wells and published by the Winston-Salem Journal. To read the full article, visit the Winston-Salem Journal online here.