By Marsha M. Brown
Each year the month of December brings immeasurable joy even during difficult times and hardships. It brings comfort remembering days of old, family traditions and of course the celebrated birth of baby Jesus! For veterans it brings something else too…remembrances of the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, December 7, 1941 during WWII.
As we know it, the surprise attack resulted in the deaths of 2,000 American men and women and 1,000 injuries. It brought about chaos, destruction and devastation to our U. S. Navy and U. S. Army personnel but also to our equipment, our battleships and our aircrafts. Veterans of that attack as well as military personnel around the world will never forget…nor will the American military family members who had waited stateside for the return of their loved ones.
The intent of the Imperial Japanese Navy was to diminish U. S. influence in the Pacific…but…the attack actually escalated the war. Almost immediately following the attack on our service men and women that fateful day, war was declared on Japan, and within months Germany declared war on the United States.
The terrible event at Pearl Harbor is acknowledged each year at various memorial sites and at veteran events – and the next National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day will take place on Wednesday, December 2016. Like many, you may have seen the older black and white movies or documentaries about that day and you may have seen the more modern version that includes romance and the special bond that only veterans truly know. Regardless, remember the inscription etched in granite at the National World War II Memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C. located at the eastern corners as described in www.wwiimemorial.com/archives/factsheets/inscriptions.htm
DECEMBER 7, 1941, A DATE
WHICH WILL LIVE IN INFAMY…
NO MATTER HOW LONG IT
MAY TAKE US TO OVERCOME
THIS PREMEDITATED INVASION,
THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, IN
THEIR RIGHTEOUS MIGHT,
WILL WIN THROUGH
TO ABSOLUTE VICTORY.”
Specific words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt are imbedded in all of us and ring truer than ever. ‘Pearl of wisdom’? If you research the phrase in Wiktionary, it will describe the term as (“…insightful saying, piece of advice or moral precept”.) Hmmm…
my personal summation? Words not to be forgotten…words that tell a story…pre-warning to protect or keep from harm…not to be complacent or oblivious…to stand watch…to be diligent…not to take freedom (as we know it) for granted…and to remember the past with regard to the future.
Survivors and family members of those lost at Pearl Harbor…God bless you all. Thank you for your sacrifice; your honor and your will to survive under the most extreme circumstance. You are heroes to our nation; you are not forgotten, nor will you ever be!
It is crucial that we all reflect on the loss, suffering and sorrow of that day in 1941 and all of the many, many days that American heroes have lost their lives serving our nation. And perhaps no matter where we stand with regard to political opinions, or candidates or platforms…we are and must be inspired and united as the Americans of WWII when our nation stood as…”one nation under God” fighting for all Americans who love our country. The war effort during WWII when there was so little to work with was astounding and for the good of us all. Americans regardless of age, race and religions were on board to pull together for the good of men, women and children who held true our symbolic colors – red, white and blue; to our heritage and to our Constitution. It was a time of severe belt tightening, less of self and more for others, rationing, hard work and a united front to sacrifice personal wants in exchange for our country’s needs.
This past Saturday, December 5th the Town of Manteo Christmas Parade included a new entry to its annual line up. Included was a float originated in thought by a Dare County Veterans Advisory Council member, Gary Kierney. Because Gary (former U. S. Coast Guard) who’s son Noah currently serves in the U. S. Army) is a law enforcement officer with the Dare County Sheriff’s Office serving Hatteras Island and as a Resource Officer for Cape Hatteras Secondary School of Coastal Studies. Gary’s community involvement and sincere committed to our veterans was exemplified through his float idea which originated naturally from his love of country, our military and our youth.
Art students from the three schools: Manteo High School, First Flight High School and Cape Hatteras Secondary (High) School willingly participated in creating their own interpretation of semblances of our five military branches using 4’ x 8’ sheets of plywood. Did they do a good job? Do birds fly? Are you kidding? OF COURSE! If you weren’t able to attend and watch from the sidelines, trust me…it was AWESOME! The art work itself was incredible and the art department’s individual and collective show of respect to our military was impressive to say the least! It was a r-e-a-l-l-y nice float…and…who but our totally outstanding Dare County veterans pulled it and rode on it! WOW! Yay! Hip, hip hooray! Thank you to Gary for your idea, for all the students who worked on it designing and executing the theme; to Clark for loaning the DCVAC a trailer to transport it; to Billy and Carl for pulling it; to Mary (Alice) Wescott for providing yummy hot Wassail, bottles of water, homemade cupcakes and ham biscuits to the vets who participated in it that early ‘morn and for seeing to it that her precious WWII Daddy (Charles Wescott) was there to ride on it; to Brian Schneider for jumping in and saving the day for us the day before the Parade and to Pam Buscemi for her devotion to veterans and help in putting last minute touches on it before take off! We love you…and we thank you all! Dare County Veterans Advisory Council members were as proud as we could be, thankful for Gary’s idea; for everyone who helped and for our A+ Dare County youth!! J (Note: by the time this GIG LINE is printed, the float will have also been seen in the Hatteras Village Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 12th).
If you know a vet who could use some help…please help them or let someone else know about their needs. Our veterans have struggled with unseen injuries for decades but visible or not, they deserve our attention, our gratitude and our love. Don’t put off doing something to help them any longer than you have to. We have an active American Legion Post 26 (252) 715-4251 and Outer Banks V.F.W. Post 10950 (252) 202-0798 (Billy’s cell) both right here on the Outer Banks eager and willing to serve their fellow brothers and sisters. And remember too that often times our local nursing homes have resident veterans as well. Perhaps a basket of hand written Christmas cards to veterans thanking them for their service would be a great project to undertake with children to drop off so they can be distributed by the staff who know the residents who have served to distribute them to.
Until next time…be happy, be safe and be proud folks. We’ve accomplished great things under challenging times throughout history. We have it in us to overcome and override bad for good. Pray for wisdom in your daily walk with the Lord and love each other. Call us if you need us: (252) 202-2058; or write to me through [email protected] as always, stay tuned.