The day to remember
Quick! What was it you didn’t see on Nov. 22?
Maybe I missed it, but I didn’t see it, nor did several others whom I questioned.
I saw nothing commemorating the anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy forty-six years ago.
Oh, there were a couple conspiracy programs on the History channel, and that night, one of the networks mentioned it in a ten second comment.
Yep, I figured it was just me – you know, longer in the tooth, weaker in the brain – but when I asked my old high school chat group, the members of which are spread across the country, none of them had seen anything in their local news about it either.
Our country cannot afford to forget its history, for invariably, it is from those events that we derive true understanding, purpose, and determination. Sadly to say, however, you are probably just as aware as I of our country’s penchant to ignore history.
How many remember Dec. 7? Believe it or not, there are many out there who have no idea what the date signifies.
And that’s a shame.
Those who lived through it will never forget where they were when they heard the stunning news – same with the Kennedy assignation.
In our little Panhandle town, we had s single picture show, the Rogue. The Sunday afternoon show began at 1 p.m. and it ran twice.
That’s where I was, at the show with mom and dad, watching “The Wizard of Oz.” Now I know the film came out in 1939, but most movies our little town got were a couple years old if not older.
About halfway through the movie, the house lights went on and the owner faced us from the stage. He announced the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Now, at my age, that meant nothing to me. What bothered me was that he shut the movie down. I couldn’t see what was going to happen to Dorothy or Toto or the others.
The seriousness of the announcement was beyond my comprehension, but by that evening, I knew something was terribly wrong for our family had gathered around the radio at my aunt’s. I remember a lot of talking and cursing.
The nearest Army and Navy recruiting office was in Shamrock, some sixteen miles to the south. The next one was in Pampa, 40 miles to the west.
Next morning, from what Dad said, lines of young men circled the block in Pampa and Shamrock, waiting for the offices to open.
America mobilized. We mobilized in a way that I doubt we’ll ever again witness. At that time, America was a tough, hard-headed country coming out of a depression that tested men’s spirits to the breaking point. But they didn’t break, they persevered.
Primarily still rural, the hard work and fierce determination essential to success tilling the land lent itself to the same kind of warriors, tough, resilient, unyielding, and trusting in God.
That’s what won it for us, a combination that saw 80 percent of the men fighting, and eighty percent of the women manning the factories and the farms.
In the late thirties, one of my uncles served in the Philippines where he contracted a disease that ultimately ended his life. Other uncles and cousins on both sides fought around the world, none of them much over twenty years of age or so. Of course, dad was in the war. He was an old man in his 30s.
That war cost our country 416,800 military and 1,700 civilian lives. Another 700,000 plus were wounded. Those men and women kept us free, free to live as we choose as long as we don’t hurt others.
The least we can do is try to remember that date.That isn’t too much to ask, is it?