Posts tagged ‘world war II’

Where My Patriotism Roots

by Charles Johnson

Johnson; Chet in service gear    Johnson; Clifford Charles, died in WW 2

My patriotism comes from a range of people and experiences. My father (Chester, seen above left) spent 4 years in the army during WWII, on Okinawa. My uncle Clifford Charles Johnson, (seen above right) also in the army, was killed during the Battle of the Bulge. My uncle Don served in the peacetime navy in the late 50s and reenlisted later in the 60s and served on the USS TRIPOLI during the Viet Nam War, where he died at his own hand, a victim of what I believe was PTSD. (I have a letter from him written 2 months before he died. No, I won’t share it here.) Other brothers – Robert, Ken, Henry and Willie – also served. My uncle Dan (mom’s brother) served in the army in the peacetime 50s. His son Mike served. My son in law Jon flew army helicopters in Afghanistan. There are others, including more relatives, friends and former students who have served.
My family always respected the flag at sporting events and parades. We attended Memorial Day services. We stood, saluted, and sang as per tradition.
We saw our country succeed with space shots and moon landings. We saw a president assassinated and then watched all the news that went with it. We witnessed national tragedies that included riots and natural disasters and planes flown into buildings. We saw so many ways that our country was challenge, both nationally and internationally.
I can honestly say these people and experiences gave me a solid patriotism that has been with me all my life.

moon       september11th
It is on the basis of such a background and role models that I can say that my patriotism is not shaken by knee-bending athletes, questioning our leaders (of varying stripes of party affiliation) or burning flags. If anything, though I may not like such actions, the patriotism fostered in me over the years means I must recognize that such things are part of the American fabric that has made us the unique country that we are.

I suspect many of you feel the same way.


Ration Books and Masks – They’re the Same

ration book


Back in World War II, my parents (and yours – or your grandparents) found many items rationed to back the war effort. This included typewriters, gasoline, bicycles, footwear, silk, nylon, fuel oil, stoves, meat, lard, shortening and oils, cheese, butter, margarine, processed foods (canned, bottled, and frozen), dried fruits, canned milk, firewood and coal, jams, jellies and fruit butter. There were ration books that had to be used when some of these items were purchased – and you were allotted so much of different items. Such rationing lasted the entire run of the four-year war. This was all government mandated and administrated. Such a program brought a call of sacrifice from all the citizens, which meant a great deal in why the war ended up the way it did.
Really? Typewriters? Bikes? Nylons? Certainly, there were eyebrows raised and protests launched. You bet – there were seemingly goofy things in that list. In the end, it ALL ended up for the better.
Nonetheless, it was considered the patriotic thing to do – we had to support our boys overseas. It meant giving up some of the things so they could survive, so they could increase the chance that victory would be secured. And it worked.
It wasn’t a socialist plot or a conspiracy to screw the people. It was action deemed necessary to face the crisis at hand. It meant helping each other – it meant being united in the situation at hand – sharing a common purpose.
Let us learn this history lesson – times arise when it is necessary to take actions that require sacrifice in order to protect our own existence. In the 1940s, it was the war. Now, it’s the virus.
So remember those rationed days – there was a clear purpose and benefit then. And even with the questioning and protesting, I think there are enough similarities now to follow through with similar plans.
Let us unite in our efforts to defeat Covid-19. Mask up. Stay home. Shop wisely. Help out where you can. Just like back in WWII and the rationing, its being a good citizen.

(footnote: the list of rationed items comes up from several different sources including WIKIPEDIA and various historical websites.)