Protecting RighteousDemocracy

A great generation made us who we are

I recently reread the account of my second cousin’s participation in the December 7th, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. We need to develop the sense of purpose that this generation used to win WW2. Harry K. Smith was the son of my grandmother’s brother. He was killed at Hicham Airfield in Honolulu. He was awarded the Silver Star posthumously, the youngest soldier at Pearl to be awarded the prestigious medal. He worked nonstop during the attack to help get planes off the runway before they were all destroyed. The bombing and strafing killed almost all of the crew he was in but he kept working to get a few more planes up to join the fight. He eventually succumbed to the vicious attack. He hadn’t yet celebrated his 19th birthday. Although I was really young, I do remember him at his going away party his family gave him. He did talk to me, but I don’t remember what he said, I just remembered thinking he was a nice man. As I grew older, I found most everyone in his generation were not only nice but very substantial citizens

I have been blessed to work with several WW2 veterans. They all have been down to earth people, substantial citizens enjoying the freedom they fought so hard to guarantee for all of us. They all are patriots, firm in their conviction that the United States is a righteous democracy. They felt strongly it was their duty to preserve and protect this democracy. Some bore scars from wounds that they largely over-look and don’t talk about. I delivered mail during summers and Xmas vacation while in school. All the mailman had served. One had a gimpy leg that kept him from delivering mail so he was the mail sorter. It was a small town, the post office only had 5 employees. You just could not find better people; honest, caring, always willing to help. What role models for a kid!

One of the mail carriers did not have any obvious physical scarring, but he carried a load around with him all the time. He had been an army infantry soldier. His wife told me for several years after the end of WW2 during 4th of July when the fireworks were shooting off, he would jump and hide under the kitchen table. He had spent considerable time in Europe hunkered down in foxholes waiting for the artillery to stop pounding their location. He saw a lot of his fellow soldiers literally blown to pieces. The sound of the fireworks transported him back to the foxholes.

I worked with an engineer who had been a P51 fighter pilot and completed many missions protecting a bomber force headed to Germany. He still remembered the mighty roar of the engine and the power the fighter had when diving. Given the chance, he would explain how the air battles were fought. He used his hands as the planes and his words became excited as he recalled the rush of the aerial fights in the sky. He described the intricate rapid maneuvers they used to protect the bombers. He said how he prayed to his maker after every successful mission.

One gentlemen I worked with was an 80+ year-old maintenance mechanic who had been a bomber pilot in Europe. He said he realized he was fortunate to come home unscathed. Many of his companions didn’t come home at all. He said the missions were scary because of the anti-aircraft flak and German fighters but it was an essential job and he would do his share. He sure did. He did more than his share just as all the combatants did. The old guy could climb up a ladder as swiftly as a 30-year-old. He could weld, install plumbing and electric circuits. His standard phrase was “how can I help” when he had spare time.

Not one of the people I talked with expressed any negativity about what they had been asked

to do. No one complained. They all knew it was simply everyone’s duty to protect freedom and the Democratic way of life.

I remember seeing the WW2 newsreels in the movie theatres when my parents took me. Usually clips of ships shooting volleys of shells with loud reports and much smoke and flame, in black and white of course. Tanks tearing across fields, canons blazing. Foot soldiers shooting carbines and machine guns. Airplanes diving out of the sky spraying bullets on trains. These newsreels made a lasting impression on me. Although scary, the close-ups of the fighting men made the viewer believe the United States would prevail. What wonderful heroes all those men were! In those days, we didn’t play cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers, we played soldiers and enemy soldiers. Of course, no one wanted to be the enemy so the youngest kids always were the bad guys. Needless to say the good guys always won.

At home, I wondered why we didn’t have fudge as often as we usually did. My dad and mom then explained to me the government needed to ration certain goods, sugar being one of them, because they were needed for the war effort. It is why my dad planted a huge garden and my mother canned all kinds of things in mason jars. The gardens were called victory gardens. The jars lined several shelves in the basement right next to the wine press. Dad would take us to the woods where we would pick wild elderberries that he would press to make the wine. I wouldn’t be surprised if there still aren’t a few jars of pickles hanging around there.

Right now, we need the patriotism, dedication and co-operation the WW2 people so overtly displayed. They knew how to get good things done and how to see that the will of the people was realized. We need to develop a WW2 backbone!

I recently reread the account of my second cousin’s participation in the December 7th, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. We need to develop the sense of purpose that this generation used to win WW2. Harry K. Smith was the son of my grandmother’s brother. He was killed at Hicham Airfield in Honolulu. He was awarded the Silver Star posthumously, the youngest soldier at Pearl to be awarded the prestigious medal. He worked nonstop during the attack to help get planes off the runway before they were all destroyed. The bombing and strafing killed almost all of the crew he was in but he kept working to get a few more planes up to join the fight. He eventually succumbed to the vicious attack. He hadn’t yet celebrated his 19th birthday. Although I was really young, I do remember him at his going away party his family gave him. He did talk to me, but I don’t remember what he said, I just remembered thinking he was a nice man. As I grew older, I found most everyone in his generation were not only nice but very substantial citizens

I have been blessed to work with several WW2 veterans. They all have been down to earth people, substantial citizens enjoying the freedom they fought so hard to guarantee for all of us. They all are patriots, firm in their conviction that the United States is a righteous democracy. They felt strongly it was their duty to preserve and protect this democracy. Some bore scars from wounds that they largely over-look and don’t talk about. I delivered mail during summers and Xmas vacation while in school. All the mailman had served. One had a gimpy leg that kept him from delivering mail so he was the mail sorter. It was a small town, the post office only had 5 employees. You just could not find better people; honest, caring, always willing to help. What role models for a kid!

One of the mail carriers did not have any obvious physical scarring, but he carried a load around with him all the time. He had been an army infantry soldier. His wife told me for several years after the end of WW2 during 4th of July when the fireworks were shooting off, he would jump and hide under the kitchen table. He had spent considerable time in Europe hunkered down in foxholes waiting for the artillery to stop pounding their location. He saw a lot of his fellow soldiers literally blown to pieces. The sound of the fireworks transported him back to the foxholes.

I worked with an engineer who had been a P51 fighter pilot and completed many missions protecting a bomber force headed to Germany. He still remembered the mighty roar of the engine and the power the fighter had when diving. Given the chance, he would explain how the air battles were fought. He used his hands as the planes and his words became excited as he recalled the rush of the aerial fights in the sky. He described the intricate rapid maneuvers they used to protect the bombers. He said how he prayed to his maker after every successful mission.

One gentlemen I worked with was an 80+ year-old maintenance mechanic who had been a bomber pilot in Europe. He said he realized he was fortunate to come home unscathed. Many of his companions didn’t come home at all. He said the missions were scary because of the anti-aircraft flak and German fighters but it was an essential job and he would do his share. He sure did. He did more than his share just as all the combatants did. The old guy could climb up a ladder as swiftly as a 30-year-old. He could weld, install plumbing and electric circuits. His standard phrase was “how can I help” when he had spare time.

Not one of the people I talked with expressed any negativity about what they had been asked

to do. No one complained. They all knew it was simply everyone’s duty to protect freedom and the Democratic way of life.

I remember seeing the WW2 newsreels in the movie theatres when my parents took me. Usually clips of ships shooting volleys of shells with loud reports and much smoke and flame, in black and white of course. Tanks tearing across fields, canons blazing. Foot soldiers shooting carbines and machine guns. Airplanes diving out of the sky spraying bullets on trains. These newsreels made a lasting impression on me. Although scary, the close-ups of the fighting men made the viewer believe the United States would prevail. What wonderful heroes all those men were! In those days, we didn’t play cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers, we played soldiers and enemy soldiers. Of course, no one wanted to be the enemy so the youngest kids always were the bad guys. Needless to say the good guys always won.

At home, I wondered why we didn’t have fudge as often as we usually did. My dad and mom then explained to me the government needed to ration certain goods, sugar being one of them, because they were needed for the war effort. It is why my dad planted a huge garden and my mother canned all kinds of things in mason jars. The gardens were called victory gardens. The jars lined several shelves in the basement right next to the wine press. Dad would take us to the woods where we would pick wild elderberries that he would press to make the wine. I wouldn’t be surprised if there still aren’t a few jars of pickles hanging around there.

Right now, we need the patriotism, dedication and co-operation the WW2 people so overtly displayed. They knew how to get good things done and how to see that the will of the people was realized. We need to develop a WW2 backbone!

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Harry Staton True

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