Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Time for Gratitude - The Greatest Generation

Picture found and borrowed from the Official Pearl Harbor Tour Website

Today is “Pearl Harbor Day”. Not only is it the anniversary of that fateful day in American History, but it’s the *70th* anniversary. That’s 70 years since America was catapulted into the middle of the war that was raging in Europe and the rest of the world.

I found this snippet on the History Channel’s website that includes President Roosevelt’s remarks about the attack. I think this is a really good representation of how our nation felt, reacted, and how Japan didn’t get exactly what they expected in the aftermath of  the attack:
Pearl Harbor Awakens the "Sleeping Giant"
“Yesterday,” President Roosevelt said on December 8, “the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked.” He went on to say, “No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.” After the Pearl Harbor attack, and for the first time after years of discussion and debate, the American people were united in their determination to go to war. The Japanese had wanted to goad the United States into an agreement to lift the economic sanctions against them; instead, they had pushed their adversary into a global conflict that ultimately resulted in Japan’s first occupation by a foreign power.
On December 8, Congress approved Roosevelt’s declaration of war. Three days later, Japanese allies Germany and Italy declared war against the United States. For the second time, Congress reciprocated. More than two years after the start of the conflict, the United States had entered World War II.
Picture found and borrowed from the Official Pearl Harbor Tour Website
My husband, Randall, is a historian (he plans to be a History professor someday) and he has a passion for WWII. His beloved grandfather served in the Pacific theater on the USS Crescent City APA-21. He passed away in 1997, but to keep his memory alive and honor him, Randall is writing several WWII historical books. He has had the honor of interviewing over 500 WWII veterans, and is piecing together their stories.

We have also gotten involved with the USS Crescent City’s reunion group. Randall serves as President of the USS Crescent City Association and Reunion Group, and we had the pleasure of planning the reunion in the summer of 2010 which was held in San Diego. As you might imagine there aren’t a lot of veterans that served on the USS Crescent City still living (let alone healthy enough to attend a weekend-long reunion), so several years ago the group joined forces with the USS Hayes, USS Adams, and the USS Jackson. When they were in the war, these four ships actually fought and worked together and were known as the “Unholy Four”. They were Attack Transport ships, and they brought Marines, Navy Sailors, and Army Soldiers from one battle point to another and were also able to defend themselves and attack as necessary. Now they get together for a fun weekend of remembering and fellowship with each other each summer.

Anyway, with our involvement with the Reunion Group and Randall’s talking with so many veterans, his research, and writing, we are immersed in WWII at our house! We have had the pleasure of spending time with and getting to know many men and women from this great generation. They lived and fought in a very different time in our country, and it’s because of their sacrifice (both in the war and on the home front) that we are able to live the lives we do today.

So, on this 70th Anniversary of the day that changed our country’s history and future, I am grateful for the men and women who served in WWII and all wars fought on our behalf. Thank you to the generation that sacrificed so much for us…you are a generation of the values and work ethic that this country was founded on, and my family and I strive to be like you.

I leave you with this “Sailor’s Version of the 23rd Psalm” that was Selected from “Chatter”, and Published aboard the USS Crescent City APA-21:

The Lord is my Pilot, I shall not Drift,
He lighteneth my way across the dark waters;
He steereth me in deep channels,
He keepeth my Log.
He guideth me by the Star of
Holiness for His Name’s sake,
Yea though I sail ‘mid the thunders and tempests of Life, I shall dread no danger,
For thou art near me;
Thy love and Thy care they shelter me.
Thou preparest a Harbor before me in the Home of Eternity;
Thou anointeth the waves with oil,
My ship rideth calmly,
Surely sunlight and starlight shall favor me on the voyage I take,
And I shall rest in the Port of God forever.

~ By Evie DeWitt

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