"I first began to appreciate fully all we owed the World War II generation when I was covering the fortieth and fiftieth anniversaries of D-Day for NBC News. When I wrote in The Greatest Generation about the men and women who came out of the Depression, who won great victories and made lasting sacrifices in World War II and then returned home to begin building the world we have today - the people I called the Greatest Generation - it was my way of saying thank you. I felt that this tribute was long overdue, but I was not prepared for the avalanche of responses touched off by that book.
"Their children and grandchildren were eager to share the lessons and insights they gained from the stories they had heard about the lives of a generation now passing on too swiftly. They wanted to say thank you in their own way. I had wanted to write a book about America, and now America was writing back.
"Some of the letters were written from the front during the war, or from families to their loved ones in harm's way in distant places. There were firsthand accounts of battles and poignant reflections on loneliness, exuberant expressions of love, and somber accounts of loss.
"If we are to heed the past to prepare for the future, we should listen to these quiet voices of a generation that speaks to us of duty and honor, sacrifice and accomplishment. I hope more of their stories will be preserved and cherished as reminders of all that we owe and all that we can learn from them." - Tom Brokaw