Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pearl Harbor Day

Today we are remembering Pearl Harbor, the lives lost, the loved ones who grieved, and the sense of patriotism that attack engendered. The way people felt when Pearl Harbor was attacked must be a lot like I felt when the World Trade Centers came down. Shock, horror, fear, anger, confusion.

I have been thinking about the 1940s a lot lately. I wasn't there, but it seems like those times played a big role in who we have become today. The grief over men lost, the sense of loyalty to a cause, the big band sounds that kept up morale while women stayed home and worried for their men. All that fantastic music and the great dancing were a part of an overall picture that included war!

My parents would have been young adults then. Those times shaped them, and consequently, shaped us. I love to hear the stories and see the pictures from their lives then. I can't imagine the way life must have felt during that war. I wish I could go visit those times, and then come back here. I guess that's why I love old movies and stories from then.

The more I think about it, the more I'm convince that then or now, people are people. We have always had certain things in common. We shop to find the best price on groceries. We worry about bills. Young ones look for fun, find dates, and fall in love. We complain about the weather and politics. People start families and settle in to life. We want the best for our kids. We help them with schoolwork. So many things do not change. Our daily lives contain most of the same tasks, same concerns as ever. There are good neighbors and bad ones everywhere in every time. Friendship always nourishes. Bad things happen and our choices remain pretty much the same in how to respond.

I think maybe we can identify with the generations before us a lot better than we think we can, if we just stop and think about it. Maybe there is less difference than we imagined.

If you have a chance, find someone who lived through the forties and listen to them. Swap stories. Learn what is common to us all, and how individual differences play into the overall picture of life and history. Listen to the stories of their daily life, and write them down if you can... when these people are gone, we won't be able to hear first hand accounts any more. That will be a great loss. We need to savor it while we can. Their history is our history.

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