12-07-2021 Remembering – refelctions of an old soldier.
The early morning doldrums that I am now accustomed to slowed me down to a crawl this morning. Waking up late to a dry, pasty mouth and feeling worn out after a restless sleep, gave me cause to pause and remember.
The year was 1941. The world was at war. There was a strong desire by America to stay out of the war. Neutrality would not be an option, no matter how hard we tried. The drumbeats of war were everywhere and getting louder.
The Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean could no longer protect the United States.
And then it happened – a direct attack on the naval forces in Hawaii. The death toll was staggering – more than 2,400 dead – a thousand wounded – the Pacific Fleet, designed to show America’s power, was decimated.
80 years have now passed since that fateful day. Tensions in Asia and Europe are high once again. The perceived enemies are different now. Once again, there are voices in our country to avoid conflict. Once again, we are being asked to trust in our leaders to keep us safe. Once again, no one wants to go to war.
War is the ultimate moral failure of nations. While some wars may be justified to fight tyranny, most wars are simply power struggles.
It took a global effort to stop the tyranny in 1941. More than 16 million men and women went to war from the United States alone. Millions more worked in the factories and on the farms to produce the machines of war and feed the armies and the navies serving around the world.
Every family was asked to sacrifice. The distinguished Blue Stars of Family Service turned to the Gold Stars of Family Loss – close to a half a million military deaths – 50 to 80 million dead world-wide.
Peace is an elusive thing. The Cold War that followed was to prevent another war. Americans became a world police force. And yet, the lessons of two world wars were quickly forgotten.
There were many brush-fire wars over the years, and wars of perceived independence from old, worn-out colonialism of eras past, and newly created power struggles as communism tried to fill the power vacuums. Some of the names are familiar – China – Korea – Vietnam – Cuba – and many more that are not familiar.
On this day, the 7th of December 2021, we remember. We remember that day – December 7th, 1941, the “…Day which will live of Infamy…”
We remember – because we must remember – or we will be a nation at war again.