Much has been said about America and the wars it’s been engaged in since 9/11. One topic is how little we the people have been asked to bear the brunt of these engagements. We have not been asked to pay additional taxes to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have not been subjected to a draft, there have been no war bond campaigns, no scrap metal drives, no Victory gardens requested, no blackouts, no rationing. For the majority of Americans we have been engaged in the two most lengthy wars of our national history and it has not affected our daily lives in any way.
Contrast that to what Americans and their allies had to endure during the two world wars. Huge sacrifices were not just asked, but demanded, of their people. I’ve been watching a British TV series called Foyle’s War about a police inspector fighting civilian crime during the early days of World War II. It’s one of those period pieces the Brits are famous for and I find the historical insight of great interest. I’ve read about it all but somehow seeing the lives of ordinary people portrayed while trying to do their bit for the war effort and live with their fears, eye-opening.
In the opening days of WWII many in England, following the rapid fall of Europe to the Germans, were certain of German invasion and occupation within mere weeks. Until America committed itself to keeping Britain afloat that nation was literally holding on by a thread.
This point was poignantly brought home in a scene about a charity fund-raiser. Up for raffle was a simple, single, large, yellow onion. A Sargent asked a young female officer if she’d like to buy a chance on winning it and the young officer was thrilled with the opportunity. She raved about not having seen an onion for several months and asked if she could smell it. The Sargent said yes but charged her a tuppence for doing so.
But back to today. What are the chances of today’s people being willing to make such sacrifices? Do you think any of us would ever tolerate being in such a state that a simple onion could carry such a place of value?