In Steven Spielberg's heartfelt homage to the greatest generation, Saving Private Ryan, the mortally wounded Captain Miller's dying words to Private Ryan are, "Earn this."
Miller was a fictional character, but there were more than 400,000 American military who did lose their lives during World War 2. With the recent milestone marking the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, attention is being given to the dwindling number of WW2 vets, many approaching 100 years old and some already past the century mark. These honored veterans are the first to acknowledge that they were the lucky ones. They left behind friends who never made it past their twenties, much less had a chance to see their hundredth birthday.
America has its faults, but it is still the greatest nation on God's green earth. Had America not entered World War 2, east Asia would have become slave states to a ruthless Japan. Europe would have either remained in Nazi control or the Soviet Union would have defeated Germany by itself and the continent would have come under communist domination. The world we know would be very different.
Instead, the poverty that was all too common to these WW2 fallen during the Great Depression is now very rare. For the most part, we live in homes that these fallen would never dream of. We have home comforts that we take for granted. Most of us will reach retirement age and of those who live this long, many will live to see that 100 year birthday.
The fallen did not make it. But because of their sacrifice, we've really had it made. They helped give us the America too many of us take for granted.
I would like to honor these fallen, and do so individually, so we can, to quote Lincoln, "take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion."
My goal is beginning on January 1, 2017, to profile one man or woman each day who would have been 100 years old that day, had they not lost their lives serving America during World War 2.
These are the first week of fallen that I will profile:
|1-2-2017||1-2-1917||2-28-1945||North, James U|
|1-3-2017||1-3-1917||2-18-1944||Beavers, Thurman S|
|1-4-2017||1-4-1917||6-11-1944||Lebens, Harold P|
|1-5-2017||1-5-1917||6-12-1944||Benway, Oscar E|
|1-6-2017||1-6-1917||12-3-1944||Noble, W O|
|1-7-2017||1-7-1917||5-13-1945||Gillis, Marian C|
Have we "earned this"?
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