Seeking our past to sustain our future

  • Published
  • By Dave Aldrich
  • ARPC Director of Personnel Services
Today is Dec. 7, the "date which will live in infamy." Do you remember? Do you have a solid foundation upon which to remember? One of America's greatest presidents, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, spoke those words on the eve of Japan's bombing of American soil at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He spoke over radio and our nation, and the world, listened. America then took to arms and formed the "Greatest Generation" of men and women who went to war - in uniform on the front, in the factories, in our home towns and across our society. The population became galvanized to "Win," for the moral cause of freedom and to give choices to people across the globe. The world became much, much smaller that day and has only gotten smaller still since. 

The Greatest Generation of Americans took patriotism and the beliefs held by a great country and began to transform the world. They went armed to Tarawa, Hiroshima, Antwerp, Paris, Tripoli, Berlin, Anzio and the thousands of places in between. The cause was to ensure, for all time, that people would be able to elect their leaders; form their political unions; be free to seek education, opportunity, career and self-determination. 

As the devastation, destruction and death drew to a close, a new war began - an ideological war between political and economic systems. The Cold War, fought as America fostered and aided with the great accomplishments of rebuilding Europe and major parts of Asia, as well as a global economy - shrunk the globe ever still. Opportunities were taken, mistakes were made, but in all, the world was becoming a better place - a place where each generation could become what it wanted to be. Times changed. The Greatest Generation began to fade. The date of infamy also fades. Conviction to cause also fades. 

Why did those Americans serve and die so vainly? Why did America participate in the, now, 60-plus year experiments of NATO, the United Nations and other global treaties? We did so, because the cause of freedom, choice and opportunity remain as heady challenges for the human race to come to grips with. So too do the new challenges we face today. What was once "us against them" with two sides pitted along somewhat clear boundaries is now more complex. Political, ethnic and religious strife embroils the Middle East. Economics divides Europe's strength. China grows while pollution and potential food shortages abound across Asia. A new found hardening suggests Russia wishes to roll the clock back and assert herself globally. The "iron fist" of Venezuela and Iran's partnership should cause serious attention. 

What these factors suggest is that America needs a new-found spirit - a cause to unite our vision to bring choice, freedom, collaboration and unity across this fragile globe. So, I ask each of us on this infamous day in America's history to search deep and find the Greatest Generation's ideals in the core of our souls. Rekindle the purpose that is America. Work hard at our jobs, appreciate the wealth those jobs bring, pay our bills, hold on to our houses (avoid interest only and sub-prime), save for our future (pay yourself first), bring health care costs down by living for health, unite our families, communities and this great county. Let us become again the light of liberty, the dawn of opportunity, the beacon of hope - and, pray.