Boomer Voices: A country my dad wouldn’t recognize

This won’t be the first time that baby boomers— many of whom have lost their mothers and fathers— say they’re glad their parents aren’t still around to see how our nation has changed. Count communications specialist Larry Checco of Silver Spring, Maryland, among them. As a Boomer Voice, he says the United States has become a country his father wouldn’t recognize.

My father was a forward observer in the South Pacific during WWII, daring to range beyond the front lines to help determine what the other side was up to.

He was awarded a Bronze Star for scaling a palisade under heavy enemy fire, with a radio on his back, during the battle for Manila.

Larry Checco, Sr., during World War II.

He never talked much about his military service, except for some of his more humorous experiences.

Like the time he spent a month or so in the jungle with a group of Philippine guerillas. When he was leaving them to return to his regular Army unit, the leader of the guerrilla group presented him with a horse, a white horse no less, as a gift.

My father used to laugh like hell when he told that story. “What was I going to do with a horse?”, he’d bellow.

He died two days before his 94th birthday. But were he alive today I don’t think he’d be laughing.

Our country is at war again. This time the enemy isn’t wearing camouflage in some far-off jungle. This time the enemy is right out in the open, in our communities— and now in our Congress.

In short, we’re at war with ourselves, and at stake is nothing less than our very democracy and way of life.

If this war were confined to the normal back-and-forth, push-and-shove debates common to cultural wars about taxes, abortion, religion in the public square and such, that would be one thing.

But this war has pushed the boundaries of civil debate off the rails and into the dangerous and often uncontrollable realm of physical violence, as witnessed by the deadly assault on our Capitol on January 6th.

When a president can incite a deadly riot, and when a freshman Congresswoman— whether it was prior to being elected or not— can suggest that the Speaker of the House could be quickly removed “by a bullet to the head” and that federal law enforcement agents hostile to then-president Donald Trump should be executed, a blinding red line has been crossed.

To add insult to injury, as long as she and others like her remain under government employ, it means our tax dollars are supporting seditious behavior while keeping these people in a prominent position to fundraise hundreds of thousands of dollars— millions in the case of our former president— to take our government down.


After last month’s assault on Congress, more than two million firearms were purchased.

A survey conducted last summer by the National Shooting Sports Foundation found that roughly 40-percent of the guns purchased in 2020— or 8.4 million— were by first-time buyers. 40-percent of those purchasers were women.

Larry Checco

We’ve reached a dangerous tipping point. Once, angry anti-government anti-Semitic white supremacist militia groups were considered “fringe elements.” Though still a minority, through persistence and the help of social media, not to mention people in high places, they have now become mainstream players.

They have no interest in governing. They know naught about political norms or decorum. They hold no desire to help our nation become a more perfect union.

Instead, they are like dogs chasing after a car. They say they are aggrieved for being “left behind,” but have no remedy to resolve their grievances other than anger and violence.

By some miracle had they successfully taken over the Capitol, seized our lawmakers and their staffs, and set up shop— whatever that might have looked like— what then? Complete anarchy? A failed state? Blood in the streets? A return to the Wild West, where every dispute is settled in the manner of the OK Corral?

My father’s heart would have broken to see what is happening to the America he and so many millions of others fought so hard to preserve.

Had he been offered that white horse today, he just might have accepted it— and ridden out of Dodge.


  1. My mother’s four brothers all served in World War II. I think they were still with us, they would all be looking for horses so they could follow your Dad right out of Dodge.

  2. Larry Checco, thank you for writing this beautiful article, and I totally agree our fathers who protected us and served in the armed forces would be totally shocked and saddened to see the disgraceful January 6th insurrection. Our Dads fought and died for our freedom, peace and against tyrants who wanted to take away our rights. These animals, I call them that because that describes them all too well, have no conception of what freedom is and how our Dads, relatives and true patriots fought to keep it and all of us safe. Let’s hope for a better and more understanding nation, a return to sanity and leaders who actually serve the people rather than their party and themselves.

  3. So right you are. And well said. Last year I made a shadow box of my father’s medals — a purple heart, silver star and bronze medal all earned during WW II on the other side of the world from your father — and it now sits on a bookshelf at my son’s house. My son, who works in law enforcement, has been brainwashed by the NRA and Prager University. He has said he thought the election was stolen (not sure if he still believes that and I’m dreading his answer to a future inquiry). Not sure if he grieves the loss of Brian Sicknick and injuries to the other law enforcement personnel at the Capitol, but I’m grieving the loss of my son to this ignorance and extremism. I believe I’ll be taking those medals back home with me the next time I visit. Thank you for voicing so well what I’ve been thinking.

    1. Ms. Scott: Many, if not all, of the “5 minute videos” from PragerU make perfect sense, if you sit and listen to them with an unbiased ear. They are generated by experts in each field, not employed by Prager. I will grant you, there is more than one way to look at various situations, but the viewpoints espoused by the experts are defendable with facts and logic.

  4. Janice, Sharyn and Sandra, I think many of us are still in a great deal of shock after what happened on January 6. Personally, the bedrock I once thought our democracy was built on feels more like swampland these days. Nothing– including our norms, customs and rule of law –seems to be anchored to solid ground, and swamp creatures appear to be taking over our politics.

    Denver, I’ve followed many of your comments regarding my BoomerCafe pieces and those written by others for quite some time, and I get the feeling you’re trying to be a responsible, thoughtful and somewhat moderate conservative. I hope I’m right. Because to my mind there’s a huge difference between responsible conservatism and what’s going on right now at the not-so-fringe edges of the Republican Party–including CPAC– all of which is rapidly seeping into the party’s mainstream. It’s dangerous, and becoming ever more so, and verges on outright treason. FYI–According to the acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police Force, militia members “want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members (of Congress) as possible” during Biden’s State of the Union address.


    This is the United States of America, not some backwater Third World Banana Republic. When do we say enough is enough and stop defending the indefensible?

    Excuse my passion.

  5. Larry, what is so shocking are the Viet Nam veterans and Police that have joined this group of treasonous men.
    My father instilled a strong sense of pride in being an American. I remember as a child the parades of soldiers on the Fourth of July, the flag-waving crowds so proud of our country and our way of life, I can’t imagine what he would be thinking as he watched the American flag being used as a battering ram to beat police, the confederate flag being waved in the capital. The entire country terrorized as it watched on TV.
    The help he gave to new neighbors he helped settle. They were From something he called a camp in Germany. A refugee family from Hitlers’ Germany. We as children were under strict orders to help them as much as possible, to make the transition as easy for them as we could. I can’t imagine what he would think of children being taken from their parents at the border and put into cages. I can only imagine it would bring back the memories of the horrifying camps he witnessed in Germany.

    1. Toni, your father and mine would have gotten along famously. They both had big empathetic hearts, and strong, humanitarian convictions.

      And, yes, I too remember my father proudly marching down Main Street in those 4th of July parades.

      Right now, however, our nation is so badly broken that we seriously need to worry about insurrectionists–many of whom are former and current military and law enforcement personnel, as you note–blowing up our Capitol building and assassinating our representatives.

      Our fathers must be rolling in their graves.

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