Wednesday, December 7, 2011

WWII, Pearl Harbor, and Sacrifice

It’s tough not to reflect on December 7th, 1941, and what it meant to the United States. 

Currently, my work in progress is about a thirteen-year-old boy and his life during the London Blitz.  I won’t go into detail, but writing the book has required a heftier-than-usual research load, which I absolutely love.  This time in history completely captivates me.

The late Thirties and early Forties must have been a strange time to live in.  This morning, I’ve been thumbing through my AMERICAN HERITAGE PICTURE HISTORY OF WORLD WAR II.  If there is a common theme across the borders and oceans, I think it would be sacrifice. 

As an American, December 7th, 1941 meant a call for greater sacrifice.  The nation, possibly for the last time, set aside political, class, racial, and religious differences to band together and meet the call of duty.  Certainly, that is a romantic view of what happened, but for the most part, it is also an accurate view.

Still, it would take a few more years for the USA to get involved in Europe.  By 1941, England was on its own.  They had already weathered the Blitz but danger still surrounded them.  Europe was Hitler’s to do with what he pleased and he had begun to look east.  To Russia.

I think of my grandfathers during days like December 7th.  One, Edward Floyd Lemox, landed on Normandy, only to be shelled by a mortar and spend the majority of his war in a London hospital.  The other, however, had a distinctly different experience. 

Lt. Lyman Cleveland Duncan was a B-17 pilot in the 463rd Bomb Group, 775 Bomb Squadron.  He flew over fifty missions out of Foggia, Italy and received among his many medals, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart.  That's him in the picture, top row, furthest to the right.

His war, like may others, was a long, harrowing experience, filled with nightmare stories such as the time his navigator lost his head from a direct hit to the nose of their airplane by flak from a German 88 anti-aircraft gun. 

Sacrifice.  That is what they all shared in those days. 

So today, if you’ve got a spare moment, perhaps you can reflect on what those brave men, women, and children sacrificed so that the better parts of our humanity were not outcome by the worst.


  1. Great post. Here in the DC area, a restaurant is hosting 3 Pearl Harbor vets, and I wish I could be there. Before long, all the vets and their stories will be buried forever. It's up to us to remember.

  2. Thansk for sharing. I also find this period in history fascinating. I really enjoyed Ken Burns' The War on PBS a couple years ago. None of my grandparents served in the military, but a close friend of my grandmother, who was like a grandfather to me in the last 10 years, was very hardened by the war. He became an atheist because he said a God he chooses to believe in wouldn't have let things like that happen. He's since passed on, but I always respected his service, which was truly a sacrifice. The war hurt him to the core, even if he physically survived. I think that side of war is important to reflect on (as you have) rather than just on the military stats and facts.