There was no doubt in my mind; the effect must have been the same…
I’ll bet you never thought you’d live through anything like this again.
No, I never imagined…thought we’d seen it all….
That was the conversation between my ex mother-in-law and me on Wednesday morning, September 12, 2001, the day after the World Trade Towers fell.
For her, 9-11 was the second time she’d witnessed infamy on American shores; she and others her age remembered the radio address that alerted a sleeping giant about the attack on Pearl Harbor. Then President Roosevelt had called December 7th, 1941, a day of infamy. That description would sear itself into History’s future chronicles.
Like many young-marrieds of that decade, her husband would later leave to serve in the Pacific. She would stay behind, living close to family, raising their first born, the son who had arrived in ’43. True to character, she worked at the army base located in the local airport of the small, Northern Californian town.
And like most military wives (then and now), she relied on help; often from a favorite cousin, who made sure that she and the little guy had enough to eat. With rationing and a family of his own to feed, this cousin often hunted as did his friends to bring home extra meat. She admitted to me that had it not been for him, she and her son would have made do with much less. When I first met them, the mutual devotion was apparent, even after thirty years.
Wartime and necessity had changed her. She’d always been rather spunky, but she became a real fighter if need be on behalf of her baby son’s needs. When her little boy needed new shoes (he was fast outgrowing the only pair he had), she’d tried all the normal avenues to no avail; a toddler’s shoe wasn’t necessarily regarded as priority in a very limited, wartime marketplace; sizes and specific items were difficult to come by.
Neither the doctor nor the local authorities were any match for this young tigress. She personally presented her son’s curled little toes inside his only shoes to whatever authority would listen, and did so until she’d obtained a correctly fitted, newer pair of shoes for her son.
The Greatest Generation? Likely true. History does repeat itself, however, and that should not preclude us from supporting our own greatest: the volunteer sons and daughters who currently serve under our flag. Those of us born after World War II would view September 11 as the closest we had come to living with war on our country’s shores.
More than ten years later, it thankfully remains the closest experience for Americans in our homeland. We are still safe to plan and dream here. Much credit goes to the many servants in and out of uniform who are diligently fighting the undeclared war against our Judeo- Christian heritage.