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"The Big War"

As I write this it is December 7th, 2005. 
On December 7th, 1941, 
the US Naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was attacked, 
with no warning, by the Japanese Air Force. 
We were not at war with them at the time of the attack. 

The slogan after that was "Remember Pearl Harbor". 
There was even a popular song. 

So I publish this column today, 
lest we forget. 


I subscribe to a couple of history groups 
and I’ve seen some comments by younger people 
that go along this line: 
“People back then were suckers 
to let the government get away with rationing things.” 
“I would have been in a protest line.” 
”Drafting people into the armed services... How awful!” 

At first I thought they were idiots, 
and I’m still not sure, 
but I've come to accept this: 
People who weren't actually there during WW2 
have no real 3-D concept of the time. 

I was just a kid, 
but I can tell you that you wouldn't have been in a protest line. 
They didn't have protest lines. 

WW 2 was not a police action or a "preemptive" strike 
as you've seen in your lifetime. 
It was a giant classic war between good and evil... 
like a video game, 
but with real torture and death. 

Maniacs were committing genocide 
and trying to take over the world. 
Our country and way of life were in real danger. 
It wasn't a matter for political discussion. 

The wartime mindset didn't allow for gray areas. 
You were a patriot or a traitor 
because your neighbors' kids were being slaughtered 
to defend freedom. 
You could see the stars hanging in the windows 
of the families who had lost a son or daughter. 
Sometimes more than one star. 

I can understand how all this could sound corny 
to those who have never experienced anything remotely like it. 

It's like trying to describe your hair color to a blind man. 
He can learn the words, 
but he can't get the picture. 

People WANTED to do what they could for the war effort. 
they sacrificed because it was right, 
and they wanted the damn thing to be over. 

This kind of mass effort and spirit of unity 
is what has left us a country 
where we can join protest lines, 
ride buses with cushioned seats 
and buy all the butter and gasoline we can afford. 

I've been against virtually every war since, 
so I'm not a hawk. 
Just trying to tell it like it was. 

You had to be there. 

Copyright © December 7, 2005 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.


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