Wars represent mankind’s disgraces whether they be due to ego, greed, or diplomatic failure. However, within wars are the men and women who fight for what liberals and conservatives value. The Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam all required people to enlist or acquiesce to the draft. These were the citizen soldiers who gave time from their lives to endure the ordeals necessary to fight for our country. They were college graduates, high school dropouts, bankers, tobacco farmers, Democrats, Republicans, rich, and poor who came together when our country needed them.
They didn’t risk their lives for ego or profit. There was no rate of return for them. They fought overseas for the ideals and principles for which we fight within America today. The armed soldiers are every bit as patriotic and courageous as today’s unarmed activists standing for principles and ideals on the streets, farms, campuses, factories, and homes across our country every day. Patriotism is not the province of one political party or the other. It is shared.
We fight for freedom, we fight for open elections, and we fight for a country where all men and women are created equal. The soldiers fought in foreign countries for an America they cherished. Activists stand in all fifty states for the America we cherish, too. We all want to live in peace, we want jobs with fair pay, we want to learn, we want equal access to opportunity, we want clean air and water, we want safe food, and we want to raise our children n schools where their education is a higher priority than the profits of privatization. The soldiers and activists may be physically separated but we stand together in the passion for the country we love.
These books on military history don’t necessarily contain the politics and deceit that lead to war. These books contain the stories of Americans who experienced situations we can only live vicariously – if we dared. They displayed the highest virtues of courage, sacrifice, honor, brotherhood, and compassion. The same virtues appreciated by activists in our wonderful country. By reading and listening to these stories, our appreciation for each other grows. We become better – as individuals and as a nation.
Today’s book is about the USS Laffey and its crew in World War II. They supported our troops on D-Day at Normandy before being sent to the Pacific Ocean to fight Japan. The USS Laffey endured the most horrific sustained kamikaze attack in military history. Twenty-two Japanese planes battered the navy destroyer but the ship did not sink. It survived due to the leadership of its Commander Becton and the unimaginable but true actions of its crew. Listen to this show, read the book, feel every explosive concussion, see the twisted metal, smell the billowing oil fires, and, above all, appreciate the heroism of the individuals who fought the battle. You will never forget.
Guest: John Wukovits
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