It was the day that changed everything. December 7, 1941 was the day America was catapulted into World War II when the Japanese Imperial Army bombed the American Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. In two hours on December 7th, the Japanese warplanes sank 18 American battleships, destroyed 164 aircraft, and killed 2400 American military and civilian personnel. The following day, December 8, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared war against Japan and ultimately against Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. American newspapers across the country declared in the largest print size possible, “War!”
What did that mean? It meant that America would begin mobilizing its entire armed forces to fight on two fronts, the Asian-Pacific front and the European front. Over 2.2 million men were conscripted or enlisted in the armed forces. They were issued combat uniforms including a helmet, boots, dogtags, a forest green shirt, pants, and jacket, an ammunition box and pack, and a semi-automatic rifle. They were hurriedly trained and sent to fight.
On the home front, war meant many changes and great sacrifice. The government set price controls on all goods and services. There were shortages of everything from nylon stockings to chewing gum, to housing. Civilians volunteered to serve as air raid wardens, scrap drive collectors, and Red Cross workers. Common slogans of the day were: “Make it do or do without,” “Do with less, so they’ll have more,” and “Loose lips sink ships.” Americans planted victory gardens and raised over 1 billion tons of food. They called it “Food for Victory.” Everything was recycled: rags, paper, silk, string, scrap metal, rubber. All went toward the war effort. War bonds were sold and income tax instituted (still with us today!) to finance the war. There was no unemployment since factories were converted to building airplanes, munitions, tanks, and rifles in support of the war effort. In the absence of men, women, symbolized by Rosie the Riveter, were employed in the factories. America was united with patriotic fervor in fighting a common enemy.
Today we are again engaged in a mighty war against a common, invisible enemy, COVID-19. Instead of military soldiers, sailors, and airmen, our warriors on the front lines are medical doctors, nurses, and technicians. Americans are being called to sacrifice, something a young generation has never before had to do. We are being asked to practice stringent personal hygiene measures, social distancing of six feet, shelter-at-home, restrict driving except under emergency conditions, and wear protective masks and gloves when outside or in public. Now is the time for Americans to once again show patriotic fervor as our front line warriors risk their lives to save the lives of their fellow Americans from this deadly virus. Fly your flag in support of this nation and our brave heroes! Fly it until we are victorious over COVID-19.
Finally, pray for our president, Donald J. Trump. You may like him or dislike him. That makes no difference. He is our wartime president and the Bible is very clear in calling us to pray for him. The Apostle Paul writes to Timothy in 1 Timothy 2:1-4, I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.Pray for President Trump. Pray for God to give him wisdom. Pray for God to give him courage as he leads this nation in the face of unrelenting opposition. Finally, pray for him to receive Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. God has raised him up for such a time as this.
May God give this generation victory in this, our World War III,