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Memories of World War II

It remains to be seen what impact the coronavirus pandemic will have on America’s future.  

The questions are many and the answers few. Will a vaccine be found to prevent future outbreaks? Will the economy recover and regain its status as the world’s strongest? Will “social distancing” become the norm for fans watching athletic events? Will we be required to wear protective facemasks when interacting with the public? 

This is not the first time our nation has faced perilous times with answers to so many questions at stake. We were forced to muster our greatest resources, endure extreme personal sacrifices and deploy millions of our young men to military service during World War II. 

I was a 6-year-old boy when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941. While I was not old enough to fully understand what was happening, I listened and heard adult conversations. I was aware my father was a Navy veteran and of draft age and feared he would get called up and leave our mother and us three kids behind.  

While that never happened, I had several uncles who served and survived. 

As the battles worsened, I became a pint-sized solider and relished the times I slipped away in the woods and played war games with my playmates.  

We had the advantage of living near an Army training range and would jump into action anytime we heard rifle and heavy gunfire. A smoke screen would follow, and by the time it reached our neighborhood, we’d be hunkered down in our foxholes, ready for the enemy’s arrival. 

When we weren’t fighting the Japs or Krauts, we’d be reading every wartime comic book we could get our hands on, collecting scrap iron and lugging it to the edge of the highway and exchanging our nickels and dimes for U.S. Savings Stamps.  

An unexpected and scary result of my make-believe wartime exploits were the dreams and nightmares I suffered  bombs exploding, airplanes crashing and getting cut down by machine gun fire. I’d wake up at the touch of my mother’s hand and go back to sleep knowing I was going to be all right. 

We’ll have to wait and see where history will rank the coronavirus as a national disaster.