I well recall this day as an eight-year-old. Back then families had one big radio and around 5 p.m. kids programs would run. I was listening to “Jack Armstrong, the All American Boy” when the news broke in that the Japanese had attacked our Pacific fleet mainly stuck in Pearl Harbor. I went to the kitchen to tell my parents of this strange interruption.

The nation was taken off guard as Japanese officials had been negotiating with us in Washington only a week prior. Of course, Germany and Italy followed with declarations of war shortly thereafter and the hell of WW II was launched. Our home on a hillside soon because an aircraft warning station — such were scattered across the nation and I became an expert on planes — theirs and ours. And I also was the eight-year-old who helped train in the volunteers who put in two hour shifts — 24/7.

I had two uncles in the war who were pretty much destroyed by it — never finished high school and had drinking problems after traumatic war experiences from which they never really recovered.

I learned early on that war is hell. The death toll was somewhere between 68 and 76 million and the Holocaust murdered some 6 million Jews and many others.

As my quote from Livy below indicates, war is a last resort.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent

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