Today marks the 70’th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and various other locations by the Empire of Japan. Today marks the official entry of the United States into World War II. This was a war which changed our world like nothing before it, and I daresay nothing since. Young men from across the country raced to the recruiting stations so that they could help fight, women stepped into the factories to build the weapons that our soldiers needed, the American war machine started churning and every American citizen made sacrifices so that we could stand the line and defend our nation.
This generation has become known as the greatest generation, a generation willing to sacrifice so much, willing to dedicate themselves to a single moral cause and willing to give their last full measure. What is so surprising, to me, about this generation is that most of them were raised in poverty, in the most dire financial straights our country has ever seen. These men and women were not all college graduates, in fact many barely finished formal schooling, but when their country needed them, they stood up and said “we will carry the fight to our enemies, we will protect what is ours”. They did not shirk their duty, they earned honor for themselves and their families. And then, after they had fought so hard and so long and lost so many of their friends and family on foreign soil, they came home with one mission… to start life.
Many people I have spoken with who lived through this time will not discuss it, they want no glory and honestly many wish to forget many of the horrors they survived. I cannot blame them. While they might not want glory and honors, they will forever have my gratitude and respect.
“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” Sir Winston Churchill, June 1940
“Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the new world, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.” Sir Winston Churchill, August 1940
“Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The quickest way to get it over with is to go get the bastards who started it. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we can go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. And when we get to Berlin, I am personally going to shoot that paper hanging son-of-a-bitch Hitler. Just like I’d shoot a snake!” General George S. Patton addressing to his troops before Operation Overlord – 5th June 1944
“Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely” General Dwight Eisenhower – 6th June 1944
“Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue.” Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz – 16th March 1945
Until We Meet Again,