Treasure our independence
I just had to snicker, not because of anything funny but because of the title of the column and the ironic twist that we will celebrate our independence as a nation on July 4th. Now, you might ask, “What is there to snicker about?”
Well, our independence was bought by a war that was fought that none of us will ever remember, unless we were there — and (sorry for the bad grammar) that ain’t happening.
Some of us remember what we studied about the war for independence in history class in high school. Then again it could be said that some of our older friends and relatives fought in other wars that ended with some other countries winning their independence. In World War I, Germany tried to take over the world and lost as a result of the binding together of allies — a positive outcome and an end to a war that almost ruined Europe.
Fast forward to World War II, and again, Germany begins taking over the European countries.
Don’t ever let it be said that a man who is small of stature will never be able to do big things. Two men come to mind when I think of this. First, Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier in the US Army at that time. Murphy just wanted to do his part to help rid the world of a menace that threatened freedom.
The second was equally as famous as Murphy. He began as a corporal in the Austrian Army and rose to be the chancellor of Germany. Yes, Adolf Hitler was a very small man. His high staff was made of men who were a full head taller. Hitler had a military mind that was classified as genius. Where he went wrong was splitting his forces into four different fronts to fight on. The adage “A force divided is easily defeated” never rang truer than the end of hostilities in Europe.
Then we have this little dude in Japan that fancied himself as emperor of the whole world. December 7, 1941 comes to mind also — the “day which will live in infamy,” or the beginning of the end for the Japanese people … again, fought for and paid for by the blood of a people who believed in freedom and independence.
I could go on but time and space doesn’t allow it today. I would like to make a request of all who read this column. Please, before you fire up the barbecue or head out on the lake, take time to reflect on why we have this holiday and what it means. Those of us who are veterans, whether combat vets or not, can still tell of what we trained for and what we did to do our part.
I had the pleasure of taking my grandsons on a ride around Loring AFB yesterday. As my dad had worked here for a very long time, I knew a lot about the base. Those boys were seriously interested in the heritage that they have to pass down to their sons.
Young people, if you have a loved one who is a veteran, don’t be afraid to ask about the heritage they can share with you. And remember one thing, and I stress this: There is no such thing as a dumb question.
Enjoy your holiday and keep it safe. I know I will, and as I do I will likely sit, reflect and Remember When . . .
Guy Woodworth, a Presque Isle native now living in Limestone, is a 1973 graduate of Presque Isle High School and a four-year Navy veteran. He and his wife Theresa have two grown sons and five grandchildren. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.