Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December 7, 1941

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese air attack on the U.S. naval fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, was a moment that will long be remembered as the event that catapulted the United States into World War II. From that date forward, the world was forever changed. As we pause to remember this day, let us also reflect on some other dates that have forever changed our world.

On August 6, 1945, the United States military dropped the first atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. From that day forward, war changed. The monstrosity of that bomb and the one that obliterated Nagasaki three days later made real to the world that man's destructive powers were beyond all imagination. No longer was war relegated to intense fighting of a more-or-less confined geographic nature. All hell had broke loose. Razing a bunker or a building became small potatoes. In the crosshairs now were entire cities. And in man's ultimate aim to end war and find peace, he would destroy and kill whatever was necessary to achieve it -- even if it took an atomic fireball and the lives of tens of thousands.

Sure, bombs had dropped before, but nothing like "Little Boy" and "Fat Man." And as the killing potential of bombs increased, these "weapons of mass destruction" became weighty leverage in the foreign policy of nations possessing them.

The world once again changed on September 11, 2001, as commercial airliners were hijacked and turned into missiles leveled at financial and political targets along our East Coast. The fallout from this act has, in part, fueled retaliatory measures and military campaigns that have spread from Iraq to Afghanistan to Pakistan. The consequence is that today lives the world over are impacted to varying degrees by these hostilities -- whether on battlefields abroad or here in the states -- whether in the desolate foothills of some Afghan province or waiting to clear ever-tightening airport security measures enroute to Memphis. No one escapes the consequences of today's warfare.

Today -- and every day -- it is fitting to remember the sacrifices of our military and those of our servicemen and women who lay their lives on the line. Each individual member of the military is trained and prepared to offer up his or her life so others can live. Each and every member of the military leaves behind a loved one, a family, a parent or a friend as he or she is posted to duty. Each and every member of the military experiences loneliness, frustration and anxiety as he or she faces another day, another posting or another critical order.

As we pause to reflect on our military and its courageous service people, let us also remember those who have stayed at home: the wives, the husbands and the children. They, too, experience stress, loneliness and anxiety with each passing day, every worrisome news report and every upcoming deployment. Men of the Men's NetWork can be there for these families left behind. Men, we can seek out and walk beside those who wait for their loved one to return to their family table. We can pray, listen and provide real help. We can hang Christmas lights, shovel driveways, sweep sidewalks or fix a military family a meal. And then when the day's over, we can pray some more.

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, we can offer words of comfort, arms of strength and deeds of kindness to those separated from their loved ones by war or military service.

"Uno Ab Alto" "Semper Fidelis" "Semper Paratus" "Non Sibi Sed Patriae!"
"Per Ardua Ad Astra" "Pro Patria" "Je me souviens" "Acer Ducimus"

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