Another View: Lest we forget

Another View
By: Chuck Butler and Dick Kiger
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Dec. 7, 1941, is a day locked in the hearts and minds of all old enough to have lived during that horror and its aftermath: the four years of World War II. However, for the generations to follow a national malaise seems to have settled in concerning the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor at 7:55 a.m. on an otherwise peaceful Sunday morning in Hawaii that netted 2,403 casualties, with 1,177 lost on the battleship USS Arizona alone. It was, as President Roosevelt said, “a day that will live in infamy.” Oftentimes we are hard-pressed to find media remembrance of this event. When it is so recalled, it is done only in a passing fashion. As we are now engaged in a world-wide struggle against Islamic terrorism in a completely different kind of war, we would be dismissive of the bravery and courage of America’s uniformed men and women from World War II forward who so courageously protect the freedoms afforded us by our forefathers if we made no more than a passing reference to their courage and sacrifice. With each passing day, we are losing thousands of veterans of World War II, leaving this earth behind to join their comrades-in-arms interred in sacred soil both here and abroad. It is up to us, the living, to make certain their bravery and sacrifice was not in vain. We can do so both by remembering what they did then but standing in awe of what their successors are doing to protect this nation from today’s enemies. Each succeeding generation of Americans have their own battles to preserve our American way of life, and all should recognize that freedom is not free. Someone must pay a price, whether great or small, and should be honored for so doing. From that early Sunday morning on Dec, 7, 1941, a raid by the Japanese Navy with a force of 18 warships and 200 aircraft, to that early Tuesday morning Sept. 11, 2001 attack by 19 terrorists aboard three hijacked American airliners into the World Trade Center, Pentagon and a lonely Pennsylvania farm field, treachery that cost 3,000 citizens their lives, this nation awoke to the danger facing it. Just as all our servicemen and women have given of themselves in past generations, they are doing so today. We must honor them by not forgetting our history, where we came from and the goals we must set for ourselves and our country. Surely we can tear ourselves away from our computers, texting, iPads, cell phones, twittering and addiction to Facebook long enough to remember. Auburn, the epitome of Smalltown USA, and its citizens must honor those who have gone before. We must duly recognize that the freedom we enjoy is only courtesy of today’s heroes, typified by Flight 93’s Todd Beamer and his battle cry, “Let’s roll!”