December 7, 2011 is the 70th Anniversary of the day World War II began. The Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and the many other American military installations should never be forgotten by young or old Americans alike. As President Franklin Roosevelt stated in his address to Congress asking for a formal “Declaration of War,” it was a “day of infamy.”
More importantly, today, it should be remembered as an event which united all Americans under the Stars and Stripes of our flag and the principles enumerated in the “Declaration of Independence” along with the freedoms and liberties guaranteed by our Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
It is often stated in print and spoken by the media that the Second World War was fought and won by America’s “greatest generation.” This is absolutely true but the complete meaning is being forgotten as Americans today are being divided and conquered by social capitalism that allows the middle class and the elderly to be destroyed to make the rich, richer.
Americans, men and women, young and old, veterans and civilians, during World War II are called the “greatest generation” because ALL Americans fought against Fascism whether in uniform abroad or as civilians working at home on farms, in factories or commercial offices. All salaries and prices reflected a nation at war with committed citizens, rationed products, and sacrifice in every home. Even with limited incomes, most Americans bought War Bonds to support the work of the troops and the War effort.
Our heroes in the military and their families from the Korean War, the Vietnam (Indo-China) War, the Iraqi/Kuwaiti War, and the War in Afghanistan are equally the “greatest generation” and deserve no less respect or admiration for their willingness to sacrifice of their time and blood. What is different is that more and more Americans have sold out and given their loyalty to what President (General) Dwight Eisenhower called the “military-industrial complex.” As our troops came home from these wars, many were ignored or even ridiculed because many Americans knew they had not sacrificed or rationed and many even used the war to increase their personal wealth. Each war since World War II has seen this increase. Without the equality of a draft since Vietnam, the brave heroes of America’s military are of lower economic status while those sending them to war are wealthier.
Today, our federal government is in total dysfunction. Our “leaders” are doing everything they can to divide Americans against each other and they are preparing to reduce supplies and benefits to those serving overseas in the military. They refuse to provide our veterans with the medical and social infrastructure they have earned while protecting the grossly excessive profits of bankers, CEOs, and board members for companies that taxpayers have bailed out from their corruption after they have destroyed the pensions and employment of average Americans. We should bring home all the troops from “undeclared” wars.
We should not forget the words of another wartime President named Lincoln: “Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.” President Lincoln stated that the Civil War would produce “a new birth of freedom” in America. As we remember and praise our “greatest generation” from World War II, let us not forget the legitimate birthright of each generation of Americans that each generation must pay for itself if there is going to be a new birth of freedom.
It is appropriate to “Thank a Vet” on any day. They swore and fought to protect you from all enemies, foreign and domestic, and many gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Dave Carey lives in Soldotna.