While no living American will ever forget 9-11, many do not have any particular images come to mind when December 7 is mentioned. Shame on us for forgetting. Shame on us for not remembering.
“A day that will live in infamy.”
December 7 is the day the Japanese launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, dragging America into the second World War. Just as today’s War on Terror affects many Americans, you would be hard-pressed to find somebody who did not have a relative involved in WWII. I did.
My grandfather served in the war. He was a Lieutenant Colonel who at one time had a whole unit under his command. He wasn’t a soldier; he was an attorney, one that served in Orlando for over 50 years. I’ve often heard the story of how his men were sitting around drinking one night and began to question my grandfather’s command. He pulled out his gun and shot a bottle some thirty yards off (by sheer dumb luck!) and that put an end to their questioning. After the war he dutifully worked the Nuremberg Trials. My mother still tells of how she and her mother were the first shipload of dependents to go over to Europe after the war’s end. But I never heard my grandfather speak of the war.
In addition to my grandfather, my uncle served in World War II. In fact he died during the war. He was a bombardier and his plane was shot down over enemy territory. We have pictures of his gravestone in France.
It’s a strange world in which we live; a world where so many young men (and women) lost their lives in a war that so few now pay attention to, so few now remember.
Fortunately there are people like Harry Meisel, who just recently passed away. Harry fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was a true local legend, having taught three generations of Central Floridians to swim. Harry was also instrumental in establishing a World War II memorial right here in Orlando, now located on the northeast corner of Lake Eola. Harry strongly believed Central Floridians should understand the sacrifice Central Floridians made for the cause. I agree.
I am thankful for people like Harry and my grandfather and my uncle. I am thankful for those willing to fight not only for my rights and freedoms, but for the rights and freedoms of others.
So, if you are one of those who did not recognize December 7 as a day of infamy, please take a moment to now be thankful for those who served in World War II. They are indeed the Greatest Generation.