A New Kind of War
The war in Afganistan came into my Inbox today with a prayer request: The Third Battalion 5th Marines have lost nine men in four days of heavy fighting. Nothing in the media about these guys.”The sender of this bulletin, having fought inKorea during an equally ill publicized war, remarked that “no one seems to care.”
Why is it, I wonder that men and women are in another end of the world, putting their lives on the line and losing their lives while we keep on in our civilian world, engaged in our individual lives, impervious to what is going on thousands of miles from us in a place where no one wants to be.
At the risk of sounding like an old person, which I am, I once again toll the bell for the past. World War II was fought by what we now regard as the Greatest Generation. We on the civilian front were very much aware and engaged in “the war effort.” I remember that as a child I was expected to participate in “paper drives,” pulling my little wagon around the neighborhood to collect old newspapers to take to school. My mother gave me a few coins each Friday to buy stamps for my book. When a book was filled, we would have enough stamps to purchase a war bond. Each class ran a contest to see who could buy the most bonds.
We had War Time. Did you ever wonder where daylight saving time came from? After 1941we pushed our clocks ahead an hour and stayed on that time until the end of the war. Almost every type of goods was rationed. Especially gasoline. We moan about the price of gasoline today and what it does to the price of goods, especially food. During the War gasoline consumption was allowed according to designated stickers.
“A” stickers gave priority to people whose jobs were necessary to the War Effort. My father, for example, needed to drive a fair distance to the Naval Air Station because they needed telephone lines installed. He had an A sticker. If you had a “B” sticker you did a lot of walking. Some folks simply put their cars on blocks and left them alone during the Duration. One of my grandsons has had a hard time conceptualizing this last fact.
WWII was a time when every American made sacrifices of some kind. We were united and we were patriotic. No one thought it was sappy to be patriotic because that was who were. We listened to the radio and followed each battle in our hearts and minds, praying for our fighting men.
What have we sacrificed to our present war effort? A young man—still in high school—wrote on Facebook that our concern with the Trayvon Martin case (and other cases like it) seem to eclipse anything that might be going on in the Middle East. Can we imagine how this makes our men and women in uniform feel? Why does the media hang back on reporting war news. Oh, wait. That’s right—we’re not at war.