Saturday will be Dec. 7, 2019. Fewer and fewer of us are still around who remember Dec. 7, 1941, the day the Japanese military attacked Pearl Harbor. I am one of those who still remembers. I have never forgotten that day, nor have I forgotten where I was when President Franklin Roosevelt announced the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor, America’s Pacific naval base.

That day plunged America into World War II. Millions perished in this clash between the democratic nations and the dictatorial nations. That day was 78 years ago Saturday. There are fewer and fewer of us left who lived through this war that destroyed civilized nations. Cities and their inhabitants were literally wiped off the face of the earth. This war, one of the continuing wars that mankind wages against mankind, ended when atomic bombs were dropped on two Japanese cities in August 1945. Again, I remember where I was and what I was doing. “That War” had ended.

The Japanese surrendered. But that surrender initiated a debate that continues about the morality of dropping those two bombs. President Truman did the right thing. It was the only way that war was going to end. And it did. My home base in 1953 and 1954 was in Matsashima, Japan. Matsashima is one of the few areas fit for troops to invade Japan and the Japanese had that area so stocked for war it would likely have cost 1 million American lives to invade Japan.

There are certain days that Americans should never forget. Dec. 7 is one of those days. Other unforgettable days include July 4, Sept. 17, Dec. 15, and Sept. 11. Ironically three of these memorable days are associated with establishing freedom in a world enslaved by tyrants and two are associated with days that war was brought to America’s shores to destroy the nation where individual freedoms were restored.

Younger generations continue to ask, “why war?” This is a reasonable question for reasonable people to ask. Is there an answer? I think it’s about personal freedoms. An in-depth study of history, including the Bible, tells how wars have been a way of life ever since Cain slew Abel.

When war is discussed in Sunday school someone will invariably reference Revelations 12:7-9 which states: “And there was a war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceived the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels (a third part of the stars (spirits) of heaven (vs 4)) were cast out with him.”

Interesting! A war in heaven with the loser, Satan, cast out into the earth. Is Satan the source of our wars? Moses thought so. He recorded in Moses chapter 4: “Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down; and he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.” Satan’s role: to oppose peace.

That war “to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive” continues today. Many “believers” believe the consummation of this ongoing war will be the battle of Armageddon. In 1832 a western New York preacher penned these words: “… wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls; and the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place.” Wars and rumors of wars have been the norm following the Civil War while peace remains elusive.

In 1776 most of the world’s population lived under tyrannical kings – few freedoms, no rights.

America’s Founders stirred up freedom in mankind’s breast. Freedom took root on American soil and became a beacon of hope to the world’s oppressed and enslaved. World War II did not bring peace, but it showed the determination of free people to fight for their freedoms. Every generation must wage its own war for freedom – no generations are exempt. Wars continue even as people pray for peace.

Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist who lives in Woodstock.

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