I WAS A child as World War II gripped the world and I didn’t understand a lot about what was going on. I did sense the strong emotional toll the war was taking on the people around me. I remember my mom, who had brothers overseas fighting in such epic battles as the Battle of the Bulge and others, and the concern for their safety that was written in her mannerisms.
EVERY evening we would listen to radio broadcasts of what was going on. I remember hearing radio commentator Gabriel Heatter, who would sign on with, “There’s good news tonight”. Those who were listening back home were always looking for a ray of hope out of those broadcasts that the war would soon be over and family members would be coming home safe.
OBVIOUSLY, there wasn’t the level of communication back then that we have now where we can watch a war as it happens from our living room tv. Not knowing the status of loved ones in the war made it even more agonizing during World War II. I remember a neighbor’s agonizing cries when she learned her son had been killed in the war. She was never the same after that due to the impact of his life being taken from her. He was her only son. I also remember, when the war was over, one of my relatives running across the street and ringing the church bell countless times in celebration — and the relief that was felt by so many. It was the war to end all wars — but, as we’ve witnessed, it didn’t end all wars, just that war. There would be more wars.
I WAS in grade school when the Korean Conflict broke out and I remember a young man from our neighborhood fighting in that war. I also remember when he came home from that war with a missing eye and leg — his movie star good looks and demeanor forever changed. Then there was Vietnam with the unspeakable human tragedies of death and horrendous wounds to so many who returned. Later, there were conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq where one of our sons served several tours of duty and, thank God, returned home safely. I better understood my mother’s concern for her brothers when our son was fighting the enemy overseas.
DURING my lifetime I’ve seen a world at war and witnessed the impact on families, innocent civilians and nations in so many ways. There have been other conflicts that aren’t as well known but still honorable people have given their lives defending freedom. You’d think we would learn something from all past wars and conflicts, but the world as it grows in population and technology, seems no closer to being peaceful than its ever been. Instead of using our technology to feed the hungry, lift up the fallen and advance medical science, so much is used to build weapons of war.
IF YOU are like me you have been touched by the images from Ukraine that have filled our television screens since Russia invaded that peaceful nation a month ago. So many of those images are stark reminders of the newsreels we saw during World War II of terrified residents losing about everything, even their lives and the despair and destruction. Our grandchildren are at the age when they might become part of a World War III, and one granddaughter is presently, in the Army. I certainly have concerns about the impact on all families, including my own — should this war in Ukraine expand to something far more encompassing and dreadful.
ALTHOUGH I would hope the world has learned valuable lessons from past wars and sacrifices, it seems that’s not the case. As long as earth is a battleground between good and evil, there will always be good and evil leaders. President Vladimir Putin of Russia is the latest Adolf Hitler, but, if the world lasts much longer, he will not be the last. It is well to remember that, in the battle between good and evil, there are also good men and women who stand tall and brave fighting against evil — simply because they are good people.
My faith teaches me that, in the end, good will have the victory over evil. That’s the promise of God and I believe it. Good is the right side to choose in this life — and for the next.