Westhampton, Massachusetts (PressExposure) July 29, 2009 -- The impact this Great Generation had on Tom Brokaw's Greatest Generation helped Americans to understand our older generations as well as our nation as it was before, during, and after The Spanish American War, The Philippine Insurrection, World War I, The Roaring Twenties, The Great Depression, The New Deal, World War II and the Korean War.
Fleury's story begins with Steven King's (Frank King's father to be) arrival in Canada in 1860 as part of Prince Edward Albert's entourage and continues through the documented, lived experiences of Fleury's grandfather, Frank King, an English immigrant to America in 1898, who stayed to become a career Army man, profuse diarist, story teller, and world traveler.
From his teen aged years he had been fascinated by the journeys and writings of Charles Darwin and the strange tales of adventure in India. He was especially drawn to that great land of opportunity, America, where higher wages and an endless adventure of traveling through its vast territory, which dwarfed that of Mother England, had a strong appeal to the wandering Bee in His Bonnet.
Frank realized his dreams. He fought, traveled, was cited twice for bravery in World War I and on November 11, 1918 wrote this in his diary:
"Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile. It's over! Thank God it's over! I've had all the battle I want for the rest of my life."
On the day of his retirement from the Army, August 24, 1924 he wrote:
"It was a day I'll never forget. My friends among the non-commissioned officers held a fine luncheon at noon in my honor and presented me with a purse of money.
This evening was the greatest honor of all when General John Pershing was present at my retirement dinner. He had presented me with my retirement papers this afternoon after we stood together on the parade grounds reviewing the troops. He chatted with me and we talked of old times in France fighting the Boche. He was most genial, a great man to do a humble soldier like me such an honor."
Frank and many of the Great Generation continued to impact the Greatest Generation, their children, and grandchildren (author Fleury's generation), well into the middle of the Twentieth Century.