Today’s Their Day
Today is their Day.
Today, Saturday November 18,2017 will forever be etched in the memory of many WWII veterans and their families. We will be meeting again today between 1:00-5:00 at the Leominster Veterans Center 100 West St.
The chance to meet so many WWII veterans, willing to discuss their war lives in one room hasn’t occurred since probably 1945. The end of WWII. Even then, and for more than 70 years, these brave soldiers kept these amazing stories to themselves. Oftentimes barely speaking to even their families and closest friends about those sometimes very dark years. Those are exactly the ones I wanted to know about, those that shaped them into the men and women known as the Greatest Generation.
As baby boomers and the generations to follow, we must never forget those incredible sacrifices our immediate forefathers endured. They literally fought so we would enjoy freedom.
Only 75 years ago, a fraction of time, the world was on the brink of a drastic change. Where prominent men and women were stripped of their titles, jobs, homes and children at will, without notice and locked up as prisoners. Doctors, lawyers, reporters, homeless, thieves, good and bad people all brought to camps in railway cars and forced to work or just be slaughtered. Over 15,000 humans per day were wiped off the face of the earth as if they never existed. Younger than 14 and older than 40 your life had very little use. Mercilessly murdered and cremated immediately with all personal belongings piled high and shipped off for the war effort. This isn’t a bad movie or scary book, it’s what our parents and grandparents witnessed and saved us from.
Imagine an America with no individual states as we know it. An America where you only work for the country and are paid just enough to stay alive to be slaves as needed. A pawn to do work as with no chance of advancement for you or your children. A time when just driving to the next town would require signed papers giving you authorization with specific details.
This too, is why our fathers and grandfathers literally fought hand-to-hand combat, kill or be killed. They accepted a challenge they knew very little about, except the consequences if they didn’t. Most of the Greatest Generation hadn’t ever left their neighborhoods or farms. Within 6 months of rigorous training both physical and emotionally, they would be shipped off to foreign lands to face a well trained and battle-hardened enemy.
The Nazi party and Imperial Japanese Army were the strongest and literally held the world if the wanted it. However, even today, our foes do not understand the American Pride. I’ve spoken with many foreigners, recently with two jihad men while in Italy. They do not understand the concept of American Pride. They do not fathom its existence. Some foreigners cannot understand our democracy, even to being called as a juror. “How do you get them to show up?” They asked. “Why would anyone take time from their lives to sit as a juror?” When I explained “American Pride” they couldn’t comprehend or understand.
Take time today and everyday to thank one of the Greatest Generation. We are now loosing 1 every 3 minutes to the one foe no one can control, Time. It is now our time to continue sharing and understanding their stories of pain, sacrifice and love with the next generation. Stop by and visit us today, or at the very least, talk with your own family hero.
Charley Valera is a bestselling and award-winning author, radio and TV host, and author of “My Father’s War: Memories from Our Honored WWII Soldiers”