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Memories of War and Resolve for our Future
By J.B. Burch

     I was very young when it was announced on the radio about the attack on Pearl Harbor. However, I remember how my parents and neighbors reacted. There was a resolve, a sense of duty and purpose. The Navy turned down my father at first because he was underweight. However, after many bananas, he made the weight requirement and was in the Navy. I remember crying as my father pulled out of the driveway, in the Navy, on his way to Hawaii. I wanted to know when he would come back, and my mother told me she did not know.

     Then I remember ration coupons, not being able to get real butter. People ate stuff called Nucoa, which was white like lard, and had a dye pellet in it that made it yellow like butter. It smelled awful, but it was tolerated because it was for the war effort. So was the scarcity of many items that we had been used to enjoying. We understood that it was for the war. We brought our pennies to school to get stamps that little by little added up to a war bond.

     Men that did not qualify for the military wore a lapel pin that indicated that they were not eligible to serve. I cannot remember what it looked like, but no one wanted to appear to be a slacker.

     America grew up during the Depression and World War II years. It was proud and determined and most of all United. After the war, wartime energy was directed to improving our way of life. The further we got away from those previous realities, the more self-absorbed we have become. One is frequently hearing someone doing some outrageous thing and whining or yelling that it is his or her right to do it. It is their right to blast their music (I use the word music loosely) in the street and generally inconvenience others. Commuters shout threats and urge a person who is hesitating about committing suicide to jump so that traffic will no longer be delayed. Lately, it is claimed to violate someone’s rights if their picture is taken as they run a red light in an intersection. There is no concern that everyone has the right not to be hit by a car. It appears as though our population has been in a prolonged adolescence, or worse yet, terrible two’s.

     Now is the time to grow up again. We need to bear in mind that our way of life will have to change and there will be sacrifices for a greater good and mission. Whatever our part can be, to serve in the military, help with rescues, donate money for relief, console a friend or just sucking it up and not complaining, we need to be willing to get on with it. God Bless America. 

© 2001 J. B. Burch All Rights Reserved


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