My mother was in her 70s when she told me – in detail – about her memories of World War II.
She said that her generation was called “The Lost Generation,” because they moved from adolescence to adulthood in one leap on December 7, 1941. She said they went from being fun-loving teenagers to battle-scarred, hardened, old people in a short span of time. Their “youth” was wholly bypassed, due to those hard, lean war years.
They were “kids” that watched as countless numbers of their high school classmates marched off to war, and came back dead or disabled.
They were “kids” that sacrificed food and clothing and simple joys for scrap drives, in the hopes that it would help with the war effort.
They were “kids” that worried and wondered if Hitler – who seemed unstoppable – would make his way across Europe and eventually conquer this nation, as well.
They were “kids” who proudly marched down to recruitment centers en masse on December 7th and 8th, sometimes waiting in line for hours to join the armed services. They were ready, even eager, to lay their life on the line, so that this country’s way of life would be protected, and they were true American heroes.
And that’s the real story of December 7th, and the reason we – as Americans – should always remember and honor this day, because of the young Americans that were ready and willing to sacrifice their lives. Theirs was the most unselfish of acts, and that’s what we should remember and commemorate.
Both my mother and father were two of those “kids” who signed up to serve in the fight against Hitler and Hirohito. My father was 22 and my mother was 21 years old.
It’s because of them, and people like them, that we’ve had more than six decades of peace in America.
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