Next week the world will mark the 80th anniversary of a date President Franklin Roosevelt declared would live in infamy, December 7, 1941.
Just before 8 a.m. on a calm Sunday morning, the sky over Honolulu, Hawaii, echoed from the drone of the Japanese plane Zero. The first wave bombed and strafed the airfields to prevent the launch of counterattacks. Fifteen minutes later, the Second Wave released its torpedoes into Pearl Harbor, permanently sinking the USS Arizona and the USS Oklahoma. Four other ships were sunk but recovered. 2,403 US servicemen died. It marked the entry of the United States into World War II.
Tom Brokaw called those who lived this day “The Greatest Generation”. They grew up during the Great Depression. They drove some of the first automobiles on America’s first paved highways. They went to work for the Works Progress Administration and built the infrastructure of our country. They’ve strung wires across our country and brought electricity and phones to homes across America. They bought radios and invented the first television. They landed on the beaches of Normandy, hoisted the flag atop Mount Suribachi in Iwo Jima, and defended our freedom in WWII. Over 12 million people served in the war. They were the first to enter space and chose to go to the moon. Today, their generation is disappearing from the earth. Most are past their 100th birthday and they will all be gone soon.
Next week we will take a break to pay tribute to this generation and the price they paid for freedom, peace and prosperity. Our world continues to owe them a great debt.
Each generation must rise to meet the challenges of its time: some will inherit, others will create. The enemies facing today’s generation are as real as the enemies our fathers faced. In some ways, they’re harder, harder, and more deadly.
We are all citizens of a planet. We all breathe the same air, share the same space, have the same needs for respect, understanding, opportunity, freedom and faith. The last two years of COVID show just how intimately connected our world is.
Our greatest homage to the “endangered generation” would be to heed the warning found in the scriptures, “Today if you will hear his voice. Do not harden your hearts as in Meribah, as on the day of Massah in the desert,… ‘I was disgusted by this generation, and I said that they are a people who go astray in their hearts, and they do not know my ways. ‘”(Psalm 95: 6). “This will be written for a generation to come, that a people yet to be created will praise the Lord.” (Psalm 102: 12).
At the end of our days, may we all join Jesus’ mother in her confession: “For the Almighty has done great things for me; and holy is his name. And his mercy extends from generation to generation to those who fear him. (Luke 1: 49-50).
– Bill Tinsley reflects on current events and life experience from a faith perspective.
His latest book, We Beheld His Glory, A Novel, is free as an eBook on Amazon from December 1-5. Go to www.tinsleycenter.com. Send an email to [email protected]