For many World War II is a fading memory. An event that lives on only in books, movies and HBO series. The violence, brutality and inhumanity depicted horrifies us.
But no matter how graphic the display, the photograph or the story, it can never match what the men and women who were actually there went through.
That shocks us even more.
How could people have done such things to one another? We wonder.
When Pearl Harbor was bombed on Dec. 7, 1941, America’s concept of reality changed almost overnight. War will do that.
But WWII was unique from those in the past and those of recent years — it truly was a global struggle. Not an economic conquest or a two-country fight, the vast majority of the planet was impacted by its ferocity.
More than any other event since the Civil War, it shaped America’s vision of the future. The men and women who died and those who survived were the hands that molded the clay of our society.
Veterans, who dug in their boots on a muddy, bloody hillside to take a shot that would change an entire battle, came home with a new knowledge and respect for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
They rebuilt the nation, making it stronger than ever.
Pearl Harbor was a turning point for the United States and as the bombs dropped, bullets flew and men and women, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, children and grandchildren died that day, the nation was forced to redefine itself.
War had been laid on our doorstep with the morning paper and despite the numbness, men and women answered the call in droves, traveling thousands of miles into some of the worst hell this world has ever conjured.
Many drew their last breaths there.
Others scratched and clawed to live. Or just got plain lucky.
Today we remember all, living and dead, who paid the price for our freedom. They are the reason we are who we are and what we are as a nation.
So as we attempt in vain to understand what our veterans went through both at home and abroad, it is important that we give thanks.
We are free.
As the latest WWII show flashes horrific images in front of our faces and we gain a new respect for our veterans — that should never have been restrained to begin with — we should always remember the truth of battle.
Only the dead know the end of war. May they rest in peace and in honor.