From Italy, allow meto speak a little about the end of World War II, the first global war on Terror.If indeed we think of what Hitler and the Nazis did, what Japan did, and whatItaly did from the years 1939 through their demise in 1945, there’s was aglobal war of terror.
My fellow Veterans in Wrightwood and the Tri-Community willgather with hopefully a large turn-out of citizens this coming Monday at theWrightwood Veterans Memorial and they will honor those who gave their lives inservice to our nation. I will be with them in spirit and in fact, will be atthe American Military Cemetery in Florence, Italy for their Memorial DayService.
It is just past theday when we have commemorated the 70th anniversary of the end ofWorld War II in Europe. Seventy years!!! I can remember the parade downPennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. in the early fall of 1945… the war hadended. The WAR…. An all-out effort to rid the world of mad-men, terrorists, whowould do anything, cause any havoc, to have their way. We know of the 9 millionthe Nazis killed in their gas chambers, we know of the Chinese who were rapedand mutilated by the Japanese, we know of the black-shirt Mussolini thugs.. nouse repeating all that, just know that America, when fully awoke three yearsinto the World War, “soldiered up” and in four years, poured heart, soul, bloodand sweat into making the world a safe place for people to live.
I, like I said, am in Italy. Over 60,000 Allied (American, British, FreeFrench, Poles and other European nations, South American forces, Canadian,Australian/New Zeeland) men gave their lives in the Italian Campaign, lastingfrom July 1943 through May 2, 1945. Would you read that sentence again….. inthe 13 years of the current Global War on Terror less than 10,000 Americanshave lost their lives….think of those 22 months and what a serious toll we paidback then.
I am reminded that two Americans ofhigh prominence were victims of that war, coming home with wounds that wouldtake years to heal, but heal they did and both ended up with long and lustrouscareers in the US Senate, serving on opposite sides to the aisle but servinghonorably. Senator Bob Dole was seriously injured while engaged in combat near Casteld’Aiano in the Apennine mountains southwest of Bologna,Italy,Dole was badly wounded by German machinegun fire… his two years recovering led to a brilliant careerrepresenting Kansas and serving the USA.
Senator Daniel Inouye volunteered to be part of the segregated all-Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team.This army unit was mostly made up of second-generation Japanese Americans fromHawaii and the mainland. They were sent to Italy to fight and fight they did. AsInouye led his platoon in a flankingmaneuver, three German machine guns opened fire from covered positions 40yards away, pinning his men to the ground. Inouye stood up to attack and wasshot in the stomach. Ignoring his wound, he proceeded to attack and destroy thefirst machine gun nest with hand grenades and his Thompson submachine gun. When informed ofthe severity of his wound, he refused treatment and rallied his men for anattack on the second machine gun position, which he successfully destroyedbefore collapsing from blood loss.
I should mention that the TuskegeeAirman were also in the Italian Campaign (remember this is just a small part ofWWII in Europe and even a smaller part of the entire WWII). And it would not be right if I didn’t mentionthe highest decorated soldier in WWII, Audie Murphy, who fought in Italy andcame home to a hero’s welcome and a career as a movie actor… only to take hislife, some say never getting rid of the devils of war.
Which brings me to this conclusionon a Memorial Day that comes at the close of 70 years of peace in Europe andmost of the Pacific. Prosperity and peace, yet there are war excursions intoEastern Europe by the Russians (Roosevelt and other should never have, nevershould trust the Russians) these days, North Korea is still a huge thorn in theside of Japan and South Korea, and even China, an ally in WWII pussy-footsaround the Western Pacific rattl’n sabers.
We, our men and women of the ArmedForces, are well into our 13th year fighting the Global War onTerror. Make no mistake, we are in an all-out war, but regrettably, due to politicalcorrectness, we can’t take the war to the enemy and wipe them out like we didin World War II. The winery we stopped at today was almost totally destroyedduring the Italian Campaign, it is rebuilt and doing remarkable business.Mercedes, Fiat, Volkswagon, BMW…. All of Europe, Japan and Italy are alive andwell. BUT we had to take them completely down 70 years ago for them to realizethat there is another way.
We owe it to our Military to givethem the authorization to win this Global War on Terror. In fact we owe it tothose suffering through our stumbling and in-action, civilians in the manycountries that are suffering through terrorist strong-arming, to once and forall, conclude the war unconditionally.
And for the Military who are comingback and suffering through the indecisions of our elected government, alongwith the thousands who have served and want assurances that what they did incombat was for something, we need our government, our society, our neighbors tostand up and say enough is enough; Win the war, set the peace, give honor tothose new Bob Doles, and Dan Inouye’s, those so many Audie Murphy’s out there.
Serving Wrightwood, Phelan, Pinon HIlls and West Cajon Valley Since 1961