It wasn’t until I was an adult that I ever heard my dad talk about his experiences during World War II, and then it was because we asked questions that helped him open up and talk about them.
He was just 18 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. He and my future Mom heard the news on a beautiful Sunday afternoon as they were enjoying a drive together after church services. Like thousands of other young men, my dad dutifully enlisted, left all he knew and loved behind, and went to war.
During the first few years of the war, he and his companion sailors looked at the war much like they would a basketball or football game…cheering when they would torpedo and sink an enemy ship, or shoot down an enemy aircraft. He said it was like an exciting competition to them, and they were winning.
But as the war progressed, and the enemy became more desperate, the suicide planes became the greatest threat and fear to these young men battling for home and country.
My dad would describe how most of the sailors couldn’t see the incoming Kamikaze aircraft. The only way they could detect how close they were to their battleship was by listening for the size of ammunition being fired. The biggest shells being fired meant that the suicide pilot and plane were still quite a distance out. As each round of ammunition would become smaller and the machine gun fire more rapid, all would recognize that their ship was in imminent danger of being hit. At this point my dad, as well as all other sailors not actively involved in taking down the enemy would take cover under the closest steel protection they could find. My dad’s ship was hit several times by these desperate combatants, and many lives were lost as a result.
Numerous times I have expressed my gratitude for not ever having to personally experience the horrors of war. But just recently I have been reminded, again, of the battles that are being waged all around me. As I listen to talk radio, watch the news stations, read newspapers and magazines, and discuss current happenings with family, friends and associates, I recognize that we are right in the middle of destructive force intended to destroy all that we hold dear. Unlike my dad, we can’t occasionally take cover. If we think that battles are won by ignoring the enemy we will be sadly disappointed to wake up one day and find friends and loved ones dying on the battlefield known as apathy and misguided priorities.
Are we so numbed by the enemies’ bombardment that we don’t recognize the imminent danger of what we are experiencing? Yesterday my husband showed me the most recent Time magazine cover…I don’t care how good the article may or may not be, when the media sensationalizes to sell magazines, we should speak out. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about breastfeeding. That said, the picture is inappropriate for the front cover of a national magazine. Small battle? Perhaps, but if nothing is said, what pictures will be sensationalized in the future?
Many of us remember the shock by a previous generation when Rhet Butler’s “Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn” was used on the big screen. Where is the outrage today? Is it a battle we have lost? Absolutely!
Abortion, same-sex marriage, pornography, broken families, child abuse, child neglect, drug abuse, lies, deceit, corruption…These are much bigger battles in the war being waged, and we are being bombarded on every front. Do we speak up, write letters, become involved, teach our children, and take a stand to do better? How are you and I fighting the battles? This life is not a game. Just like all the fatalities and evils of past wars, we are playing for keeps. How many loved ones or even generations need to be destroyed before we recognize the battles, and take up the fight?