There isn’t any such thing as a good war but the worst war of all is the one you lose

To the Editor:

This is an introduction to what you are about to read, as Veterans Day approaches. When the Home Front Café, operated by Cindy Pollard, was hosting school groups to discuss local and world history, I was asked to address Christian Brothers Academy students on the past, present, and future of our country.

It is important for the young people of today that the future of our country will hinge on their knowledge and awareness of what is taking place in this world today. The Home Front Café was and still is a reservoir of veteran and military history, participated in by local residents and others. I hope the following is of some value to your future:

I am going to take you on a trip, which for your sake, I hope will be a long one. From the cradle to the grave. Your cradle, your grave. It also might encourage you to perform a little mental gymnastics further on down the road at a later date.

You have heard the various stories from many of the World War II combat veterans. To qualify my existence here, I served on four combat ships from 1944 until 1953: aircraft carrier, light cruisers, destroyers, and troop transport.

Now let’s get into the other aspect of war. There isn’t any such thing as a good war, but the worst war of all is the one you lose.  Those of you who are familiar with our country’s history, are probably familiar with the Revolutionary War in the 1700s which set the course of history and led the way to the lifestyle that we lead today. The Civil War helped erase slavery. World War I because of the United States participation, saved France from being overrun by the Germans.

As far as World War II is concerned, which is one of the reasons we are here today and to remember and honor those men who helped the entire world preserve what we call democracy. It was hoped that this war would be the war that ended all wars but, unfortunately, that was not the case.

War has many faces, not all bad. Out of World War I came the aircraft; out of World War II came the use of atomic energy, TV, jet propulsion, and solar travel. I could go on forever.

For me personally, it took me to a world I never know existed. At the ripe old age of 7, I was a farm hand, at 12 a mill hand, and at 16 and 17 a deckhand on a warship. It led to jobs and education that many young people at that time would never have experienced.

World War II began because a very articulate and intelligent individual, Adolf Hitler, sold a large segment of the eastern world, mostly Germany and Italy on a fascist form of government. He, with help from the Japanese, almost succeeded.

He had conquered most of Europe and was already engaged with the Russians on the eastern front. As he was about to engage England, a pacifist prime minister by the name of Neville Chamberland told the British people he could talk to Hitler and everything would work out all right.

He did talk to Hitler and returned to England and told his countrymen everything was fine. Shortly thereafter, Hitler bombed London.

We, America, were still not engaged. It took the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 to wake us up.

The point I am getting at is, don’t be too quick to judge. Only history will tell if Iraq, for example, was a huge mistake. I personally do not think so, although the management of Iraq was not and has not been completely satisfactory.

But I do feel that Iraq, like the bombing of Pearl Harbor if nothing else turned out to be a wake-up call for us at this time because it did alert the world to the fact that “out there: is a large fanatical group of people of mixed denominations that want to destroy us. And unfortunately many of them live amongst us.

During World War II, it was the fifth column, the saboteurs, spies, peace activist and underground groups who were not in favor of our entry into the war. Without going into great explanation, after the war was over Joseph Stalin, who was leader of Russia at the time, referring to the United States, said we will not need guns to bring you down; we will do it with the help of your educational systems.

President Ronald Reagan several years later during the reign of Nikita Khrushchev, in his own ways successfully handled at the time, the Russian threat.

What we are looking at today is far more serious, potentially long-term, and definitely dangerous because we are not fighting other uniforms or a specific country. We are fighting for our survival against evil, fanatical segment of a religion trying to take over the entire world. Believe it or not, but give it some thought. I’m lucky. I am going out of this world; you’re coming into it, if there is a world to come into.

George Pratt



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