A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
My personal journey to becoming a conservative began at Pearl Harbor. My philosophy on politics had its birth on the morning of December 7th, 1941…
It was a beautiful Sunday morning in paradise when ……… ……… ………
Around 8 AM, (71) years ago today, the Japanese swooped in, out of a brilliant blue sky over Hawaii, and bombed the port of Pearl Harbor to smithereens. Much of the muscle of our Navy was destroyed. Two thousand and four hundred US servicemen were killed.
In the next four years, as my consciousness grew, I became aware of all the activity around me. I saw soldiers in uniform. I saw my grandmother crying when the telegram came that her baby boy had been “Killed in Action” somewhere in Europe.
And finally, I remember guns being fired into the air, people running through the streets of our little South Carolina town, hugging and kissing each other. I remember folks saying: “It’s over!” And it was. But it left an indelible mark on my family and an even deeper mark on me.
NC Newspaper Monday Morning Dec. 7th, 1941
Those first 4 years of my life, the formative years, were experienced under intense stress. I learned the cost of war right from the beginning stages of my life. I lost one uncle, in Belgium (the Ancestral homeland) another was machine-gunned through both thighs and lay in a freezing stream in France, all night, until American troops found him the next morning. The icy water of that frozen stream saved his life. He suffered ”shell-shock” (referred to as “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” today) the remainder of his life. A summertime thunderstorm became an instant German artillery barrage. He would race for cover. The flashbacks were ever with him.
Others of my family were in the Pacific fighting the Japanese. They, too, came home with stories of Japanese Kamikaze planes hitting their ships and, in one case, finding the pilot alive. For whatever reason, the plane with the bomb attached, did not explode.
When we could get those veterans to talk, which was not often, I was spellbound by the stories of their experience. I soaked it up like a sponge.
You see, I learned, both from personal experience and the accounting of the men of my family who had been there, who had suffered the indescribable hell of combat in the Second World War, what war REALLY is. And, I learned that you have no choice when the enemy brings the war to your doorstep, you must fight back, and you MUST prevail, no matter the cost.
Today, we find ourselves in another war, which was brought to our doorstep. In doing so, the enemy killed even more people with THEIR sneak attack than the Japanese did with their sneak attack on Pearl Harbor.
I don’t suffer fools lightly. My generation shares that quality. Today we have people in our government who are advocating a policy of retreat for the United States in our war against terrorist in the Middle East — and the world. It does not seem to matter to those folks that an enemy, which has brought war to our shores, will not quit, and go home, just because we do. They will follow us back to our own country and continue to wage war against us here… in our land.
It makes no difference how many medals hang from a man’s uniform or suit jacket. For all the times he was right, represented by those medals, there are times when he is wrong.
Had the United States listened to the “doves” after Pearl Harbor, I would most likely be writing this missive in German rather than English. It was that serious then, and it is that serious now.
So, as we think, today, of the men and women who gave everything they had, including their lives, to insure that you and I would have a free country, let us think of the men and women serving today for the very same reason.
On December 7th, 1941 the Japanese, and the Germans, wanted nothing less than the conquest of the world. Today the Islamofacists want the same thing.
You have to ask yourself… as an American… are you going to stand down, ground your weapon, and allow this evil from the deepest, darkest, depths of hell, to take your country? That is the question all Americans must ask themselves. For, understand, they will not stop with America. Once America is out of the way, the remainder of the world will fall to them as easily as dominoes.
The Men and Women (Caps Intentional) of 1941 had to ask themselves the same question. We had better thank Almighty God they answered in the affirmative.
Today, we honor them for it. But they will tell you, those who survive to this day, that there was no real question about what the people of America would do. It was simply understood that freedom was far too precious to allow the forces of evil to take it from us. And so they marched forth to stop it and preserve this country for you and me. And they did!
We can never thank them enough. Not only did they save America, they saved the world!
Are we, as Americans, prepared to give up our freedom today after that generation gave so much of their blood to preserve it for us?
I pray to God that America will finally awaken to the danger that threatens us here at home, as well as abroad, and take the painful steps, whatever they might be, to preserve this country, and again, the world.
On such an important day as today in American history, I am compelled to consider the condition in which freedom and liberty find themselves within America today. They are continually under assault, with the fiercest attacks originating from domestic enemies – even within our own government.
Today, I search my soul asking if we “modern” Americans have just a tiny measure of the strength and determination, and yes, the honor and love of country to stand in the breech, to declare: “This far — and no farther” to those who work day and night to shred the constitution for which those men at Pearl Harbor gave their life’s blood.
Many doubt that such men exist today. But I MUST believe otherwise. I MUST believe that out here, in the heartland of this country where giants used to roam, there is still that spark, albeit faint, that can, once again, ignite the fires of liberty in the land and bring America to her feet roaring “this land is MY land and I’ll not allow you to destroy it!”
The freedom movement in America is in desperate need of leaders – leaders who can move men from their knees to their feet. This country needs women who will send their sons and husbands off to retake our country with the charge the mothers of the ancient Spartan warriors called after their departing men: “With your shield, or upon it!” In other words, come back victorious, or don’t come back alive.
We need men who can rise to their feet, as did one southern gentleman from Virginia, and in a few short sentences bring down a king’s dominion in America. He said: “Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace – but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” That southern firebrand was none other than Patrick Henry of Virginia.
Our country, dear reader, is in just as much danger this December 7th as it was on that Sunday morning in 1941 — maybe more. Our lackadaisical behavior toward the loss of freedom in America is un-American. It is not in the American character. THIS is NOT who Americans are!
There is a great storm coming, a great struggle in the offing, on these very shores. For those who WOULD be free WILL BE FREE. The horizons of all quarters of the compass are blackening with unrest, outrage, and a slowly building determination to fight — in any manner called for — to save our country.
This is nothing new for Americans. Twice before we have gone to war with ourselves and with depots that would have absolute rule over us.
As an old man, well past my prime, in the winter of my life, I fear few things. But the fear that keeps me awake nights is that my beloved America will allow itself to be enslaved without a fight.
We cannot allow that to happen. We have a duty to the honor of those who poured their life’s blood onto the alter of freedom to stand and fight. We have a duty to the generations of Americans yet unborn to take the fight to the enemies of freedom – EVEN IF WE FAIL!
How can we not? How can we hold our heads up and profess to be men when our actions betray us for what we really are?
We “modern” Americans owe an unpayable debt to those who have gone before us and died in the service of freedom and liberty. We have a duty to make the country safe for our progeny.
As my generation passes into eternity, we pass the mantle to you. As to our part in the coming struggle – we will continue to strike sparks that will ignite “brush fires of freedom” much as the pamphleteers of pre-revolutionary America did. We may not be able to wield the sword, but we can most certainly wield the pen. – and we shall.
So, remember Pearl Harbor today — but more importantly — understand what Pearl Harbor and the Second World War were about. Resolve today, this moment, that you will not allow those men, and all the others who have died in the cause of freedom, to have died in vain.
© J. D. Longstreet