Human society is presently experiencing a very difficult challenge. The health and welfare of all of us, as we know it, is being compromised. The loss of life throughout the world is staggering. Hardships are at a monumental level. The suffering has been immense.
Out of this war heroes will be made: champions of patriotism, patrons of good will, and stewards for a more impassioned society. This description of our country defines our way of life today but it also describes a generation of people who lived through WWI and WWII… a generation who survived without masks and hand sanitizer.
As we face this invisible enemy COVID-19 with great concern, let us be reminded of the tragedies that occurred a century ago. Since WWI, 600,000 of our military have been killed on the battlefields with tens of millions injured. Plague, starvation, genocide, and other unspeakable, horrific tragedies stemmed from these wars around the world, killing well over 110 million civilians.
Yet, throughout that same time in history, community spirit and the selfless regard for the welfare of others was demonstrated. During the Great Wars, children pulled milkweed from the side of the roads which was then used to make parachutes. People recycled cans, paper, glass, rubber and even rags. They purchased war bonds and planted Victory Gardens. A voucher distribution system was used to ration food. Citizens were asked to change their diet to fruits and vegetables since those items were impossible to ship overseas without rotting before it was delivered to the warriors on the battlefields.
“Meatless Tuesdays” and “Wheatless Wednesdays” was the battle cry. Sugar and butter remained on the rationed list until 1947, 2 years after the wars’ end. For years after WWII, the people of the United States continued to feed Europe. The list of selfless charity was endless. Today, the people of the world exemplify those same qualities that bring kindness and compassion to those in need. We are reaching out with a united purpose. Neighbors are helping neighbors. Businesses, companies, organizations, clubs and citizens alike throughout every community in this great country are performing countless acts of generosity and social kindness to assist those in need.
We salute our civilian warriors who are fighting this invisible enemy.
We pay our highest respect to our medical staff, front line workers, first responders, employees of essential businesses, right down to the citizens in towns like ours, who volunteer to bring food to homes of the less fortunate.
Let us never forget that generation of the past, who built the bridge of humanity, kindness, and who, through their sacrifice, valiantly fought for the freedoms that we experience today. God bless them and this, our United States of America, on this most sacred of national days… Memorial Day.
Jim 'Hondo' Haldeman served 22 years in the USMC as an Artillery Officer, Fighter Pilot, and Commander of Civil Military Operations in Fallujah. He retired as a 737 Captain with American Airlines. Jim enjoys playing the piano and is member of Hope Masonic Lodge in Rhode Island, having been elected for 5 years in a row as the Worshipful Master. Printed with Jim's permission.