September11, 2001 is a day that will live on in the minds and hearts of every living American. A sad day! A terrible Day! Unbelievable, our country attacked! So many lives lost, not only from the attack, but also from the aftermath, heroes trying to find survivors and losing their own lives in the process.

        The event was, without doubt, a horrible tragedy, yet some good has come from it also. The unity of the American people in a time of crisis has surfaced once again. We see our flag everywhere; it hangs proudly on the doors and windows of our homes and on the cars that pass on the street.

        There are offers of help from everywhere in the country. People are giving blood and donations to the WTC. I saw the look of pride on my twelve year-old granddaughter’s face when she told me about the amount of money her 7th grade class had raised for the fund.

        It reminds me of another time, long ago. December 7,2001 will mark the 60th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. I was only ten years old at the time of the bombing, and I had no idea what the word “war” meant. Yet, I knew it meant something dire by the look on my parents’ faces as they stood, glued to the radio. They spoke in voices barely above a whisper. I had never seen them this transfixed before and it frightened me. I soon learned that at that moment our lives had changed.

        We didn’t have TVs in every home then, (way back in the dark ages,) so we relied on the radio for our news coverage and our local movie theater to bring us closer to the events. My mother absolutely loved movies and every weekend she and I would go to see the double features, two movies for the price of one. We saw spectacular movies, with the comedy of Jack Benny, Mary Livingston, Bob Hope, and many others and tearjerkers like "Lassie" and "Black Beauty", and musicals, yes, amazingly beautiful musicals. They combined the music of the big bands with incredible vocals and starred dancers like Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Fred Astaire with Ginger Rogers. All these provided an escape from the reality we were facing, however, in between features, the theatre showed short subject documentaries, one I remember was titled “Paramount’s Eyes and Ears of the World.” It was through these short subjects, that I began to understand the meaning of war. The images depicted left an impression on my childhood mind that I will never forget, pictures of battles, war propaganda, and even our stars in a whole new light. Movie Stars were shown joining the armed forces, entertaining soldiers at the Hollywood canteen, and traveling the world on tours to sell war bonds.

        It seemed everyone was buying war bonds and my classmates and I were no exception. I remember someone coming to my school once a week to sell stamps. My classmates and I stood proudly in line tightly grasping dimes between our thumbs and forefingers, waiting to make our purchase. The stamps were posted in a book provided by the seller and full books were traded for bonds. We anticipated each bond, as this was our way of helping the cause.

        We soon found other ways to help, as well. We collected newspapers, and saved string and aluminum foil, which we would shape into the form of a ball. I remember piecing together gum wrappers with my friends to see how big we could make our "foil-ball". We would place one piece on top of another and as the ball grew larger, our pride grew deeper.

        Everyone wanted to help, and it seemed as though everyone did. Many people donated time wrapping bandages for the Red Cross, and the rationing of gas and many food products soon came into effect. Each family was allowed a certain amount of "ration stamps" for meat, sugar, butter, and other items. It was a different way of living, yet no one complained. If it was needed for our servicemen overseas, we were willing to make the sacrifice at home. After all, they were sacrificing everything for our freedom and us.

        Finally, the war came to an end. Another day I will never forget. I was thirteen years old. My father had passed away, so my mother and I were alone. Our neighbors came and we left to accompany them to town for the post war festivities. We never actually made it to town; the main street was blocked, packed full. It was an unbelievable sight, young, old, and everyone in-between crowded in the streets. People were singing, shouting, dancing and simply jumping up and down with glee. Perfect strangers kissed and hugged one another in an expression of joy. Happiness and contentment filled the air, for we would now be at peace. "Everybody’s war" had ended and we had all done our part, both large and small, just as so many are doing their part today.

        As the anniversary of December 7th approaches, it would be wonderful if we could remember all of the heroes involved in WWII, as well as remembering our more recent heroes of September 11, 2001.


© Melt Magazine 2001