Bummed about the economy?
Have a bit of anxiety about the world situation?
Your fears are trivial. If you doubt that take a few seconds today and think what would happen if a massive air and submarine strike had taken out 12 American ships, 188 aircraft, killed 2,204 military personnel and wounded another 1,282 before you even awoke from your slumber. Add to that three major powers declaring all out war on the United States before sundown.
It is what faced those on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941 who were to become known appropriately as American’s “Greatest Generation”
The fear that gripped the nation in the hours after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks was nothing by comparison. It was an open state of all-out war. Some nine hours later another devastating attack would hit American forces in Manila.
America in 1941 was still in the throes of The Great Depression. Now to add to their fears was a war that would change their lives forever
When World War II ended four years later, 418,500 Americans had been killed and upwards of 79 million people worldwide had lost their lives.
A victorious America then acted like no other nation in triumph had ever done in the history of mankind. This nation sunk $12.7 billion — $125.3 billion in today’s dollars — to rebuild war devastated Europe and Japan.
We then — right or wrong — committed more than 130,000 additional lives of American soldiers in a bid to keep peace worldwide to avoid World War III.
America embarked on what now some judge as a wanton nuclear arms race but what history notes was essential for the most part to secure the United States and other free people from tyranny.
Those soldiers who returned home put in motion everything from inventing the foundations of today’s high tech marvels to making the initial major advances in improved health care.
No one on Dec. 7, 1941 had any inkling of the future. They were faced with the unknown. In one single day their lives had been changed forever.
Much has been said about how that happened after Sept. 11, 2001. Pundits and others talked about how America lost its innocence as war was brought to its shores by terrorists
It was a walk in the park, though, compared to what Americans 76 years ago were about to deal with in the coming years. There was fear you’d never see your loved ones again. Women manned factories to turn out war material. Teens — not even 18 — volunteered for military service while 50 million American men from 18 to 45 were registered and 10 million drafted to serve.
Rationing — doing without not just luxuries but even basics — was the order of the day.
The day Pearl Harbor was attacked was a day that transformed America —and the world — in ways that are only matched by the defiant acts at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775 from a people yearning to be free of tyranny and the bombardment of Fort Sumter April 12-13, 1861 that pitted brother against brother to launch the bloody epic battle to preserve the union.
Those of us who were not alive back on that fateful day have no inkling of the depth of the fear and uncertainty Americans faced. We have, however, benefited immensely for their sacrifices, tenacity, courage, and resourcefulness as well as ultimately their forgiveness.
They would have loved to have traded what they faced for what we view today as major trials and tribulations.
So stop fretting. We have it great.