40 Thieves on Saipan won the 2020 AmericanBook Fest Best Book in Military History and was named a Finalist in American History.
World War II vets said they fought because of patriotism, to keep the world free of tyranny, to protect their homes and families and way of life. Men and women from many parts of the world fought for common values. People who questioned their country’s involvement were small minorities. No one would boo these vets as they returned home. No one would burn a flag at parades honoring the armed forces. It may have been the last time for such unity.
Whether farmer, banker, electrician, car salesperson, teacher or corporate manager, everyone wore the same uniforms and slept wrapped in the same US-issued blankets. There were not demonstrations about the colors of the blankets, or if people need blankets, or who should pay for the blankets. People with guns didn’t threaten those going to work in the factories making blankets and uniforms and equipment. We were one nation.
That is far different from meaning that everyone lived equally in that one nation. Our troops were not integrated. Not all citizens had the right to vote. Running water and electricity were not reality for many. Not all enlisted men could read or write. Some had never worn shoes or had enough to eat. A lot fought hoping their efforts would turn into a better life after the war.
We are still that imperfect one nation and embracing “one” appears to be a heavier burden. Now splintered into a million small entities all in perpetual struggle to gain more, or retain some, the concept of “one” is weakening. I’ve got no answers. From elected officials who appear to value power more than the harder work of governing, to the elaborate jargon of groups that purposefully keep others from participating, to the few who have so very much while others cannot afford a safe life, there are huge cracks we must step over, accept or patch. Here’s to hoping we can all agree to live in this house while the messy, often long, work of renovation takes place.