Monday, December 7, 2015

Should Your Children Know About WWII?

I wasn't born in 1941, but I've heard about that horrific event since I was a wee tot. Although my dad didn't qualify to take part in WWII, my uncle, Tom did. From the time I could remember, he occasionally shared terrible details of what happened to so many of his buddies. The one that still sticks in my brain had to do with the bombing of the USS Oklahoma. Uncle Tom had a friend aboard who jumped ship trying to escape the fiery hell he found himself in. The screaming of being burned alive was deafening, and in the end, no one survived.

I was born in 1944, the year WWII was winding down. Again being an infant, I had no knowledge of the many parades and celebrations that were held to welcome 'our boys' back from the war. My mom often told me about how she and our relatives lined the sidewalks of Pittsburgh as the soldiers were transported throughout the city, smiling and waving to signal their gratitude for making it home alive.

Throughout grade school and high school, there was little if any emphasis on WWII. We touched on WWI at the end of the year, but somehow never got around to Pearl Harbor. If it hadn't been for Uncle Tom and my family, sad to say I would have been totally ignorant of the sacrifices so many of our servicemen made, even the ultimate sacrifice, to keep our country, our world, and kids like me safe.

I hope that our schools today make it a priority to tell their students about WWII. Their purpose should not be to instill fear into the hearts of the young, but rather to make them aware of what their great-grandfathers did to make sure they'd always live in a free nation. These men accepted their duty to protect and serve without question. They were selfless individuals who knew the perils they faced and yet were willing to die so that others would never know the horrors of war on American soil.

Today is the 74th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Take this opportunity to tell your children about what happened on that fateful day. Perhaps take the family to a parade honoring those men who endured and gave so much. Encourage the young to ask questions, and answer them honestly.

Children are our hope for the future. In order for them to be instrumental in effecting world peace, they must first be aware of the wars that happened so many years ago so they can avoid the mistakes that led up to these skirmishes of the past. Teach them conflict resolution skills when they're two, so that when they become our leaders of tomorrow they will have mastered these important techniques.

Above all, remember Pearl Harbor today as the beginning of a positive outcome. In 1945 WWII was over, and the United States of America remained a harbor of freedom!

God bless those who fought so valiantly during those years of unrest and uncertainty, and God bless the servicemen and women who continue to give of themselves so we may never have to engage in another world war again.