GOD BLESS AMERICA
No, it is not the 4th of July, but I am thinking about my beloved country today—no longer beloved by many, much to my sorrow.
Our President is in Viet Nam negotiating with Kim Jung Un about denuclearizing North Korea while, at the same time Congress is in session trying desperately to find reason to impeach him. Celebrities are fabricating stories about being personally terrorized, and politicians are promising to turn everything green and give away the store, while Americans are approving the murder of newborn babies.
I am thinking of those who sacrificed to make America a great country—a country once admired throughout the world. From the Pilgrims, who made that perilous journey across the Atlantic to the boys who died in the Iraq War, and are still dying to defend our land, untold sacrifice has been made.
I was three weeks shy of my sixth birthday when Pearl Harbor was attacked and The United States of America declared war on the country of Japan.
I was much too young to understand the enormity of things that were going on in our world, but I did know there was concern in our home. Mama was afraid her boys would have to go to war, and they did. Three of my brothers served our country during that long, drawn out nightmare.
For the most part, I was a happy carefree, uninformed child during the war years, but there are things I do remember. For example, there was V Mail or Victory Mail. The morale of our military depended, to a great degree, on news from home, so mail was important. V-mail letters were written on a thin, blue, 7 X 9 1/8th inch page, which, when folded properly, formed its own envelope. Our V-mail letters were censored, removing any sensitive information, copied to film and printed back to paper, reduced in size by 60%, upon arrival at its destination. Thirty-seven mail bags were replaced by one single sack, and 2,575 pounds of mail was reduced to a mere 45 pounds. V-mail also deterred espionage communication. Small and brief though it was, we anxiously watched for and devoured every letter from our boys. It wasn’t unusual to receive a letter with parts missing. “LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS,” was a well-worn slogan during the war.
I remember the British Air Cadets who trained at Falcon Field just northeast of our little town. My high school sister, who worked at the corner drugstore fountain, fell in love with Jimmy. In time, Jimmy was shipped back to England to fight the war in Europe, but letters arrived faithfully until they didn’t arrive at all. What happened to Jimmy? He either fell out of love or was shot down over Germany. My sister was truly one of the wars wounded. She often sang to me:
“There’ll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover,
Tomorrow, just you wait and see.
There’ll be love and laughter and peace ever after,
Tomorrow, when the world is free…
And Jimmy will go to sleep in his own little room again…”
Then there was rationing. So many resources had to be reserved for the military, mail from home and good food encouraged our boys, while at the same time, making many things scarce to the general public. Sugar, tires, gasoline, meat, coffee, butter, chocolate, canned goods, shoes and many other things were difficult to come by.
Every person, from the youngest baby to the oldest grandpa, had two rationing books—blue for processed foods, and red for meat, fish and dairy products. The rationing books were filled with stamps that must be presented at the store when any of these items were purchased. No stamp, no purchase! When the stamps for a certain item were used up, you couldn’t buy anymore until next month’s rationing books were issued. Everyone was allowed only two pairs of shoes each year.
World War II was the backdrop for the world debut of Margarine. Margarine was a glob of white stuff accompanied by a capsule of yellow food coloring. Mama put the white stuff in a bowl and mixed the food coloring in. It looked like butter, but in our home, “fake” butter created somewhat of a crisis. Daddy would have none of it. There were farmers in the church, where my father was pastor. They often brought us real butter and other dairy products. Daddy always bragged to visitors about our real butter, but sometimes it was not real at all. Mama got a big laugh out of that.
We saved cans and planted Victory Gardens. Women went to work in factories doing the jobs vacated by our men, who were fighting on the foreign front. Everyone sacrificed in one way or another.
For a six year old the scarcity of bubble gum was probably the greatest sacrifice, and I did miss my brothers.
In some ways, those war years were good years. Americans came together. We were one united family loving the same thing, working for the same thing, and fighting against the same enemy. We had one great purpose—keep our country free and bring our boys home.
The majority of people went to church, and even if they didn’t believe, there was still a sense of respect for God and the rule of law.
I look at my country now and see how things have unraveled. It seems there is no longer any respect for anyone or anything. Judges 21:25 says, “In those days…everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” That sort of describes what is going on today.
I do want America to be great again, but in spite of how hard our president is working, and the good things he is accomplishing, I believe there is only one way that is ever going to happen.
Psalm 33: 12 says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…” America will never be great unless God is great among us—unless He is our Lord.
Remember, the sun will come out tomorrow!