There are many nuances of history that we fail to acknowledge when looking through the lens of today backward into the past. As opposed to what people were experiencing at that moment in time truth gets overlooked as revisionists remove plaques of George Washington from churches and historic colleges. The recent craze of destroying Confederate monuments is one example of the left’s convenient manner of imposing the pretention of today upon history and monuments that remind us of it. Aside from this issue let us examine World War II and the mindset of the “Greatest Generation” of that era.
Imagine, if you will, being a young man barely out of high school, or for that lying about your age and being even younger. If you were not relegated to the Marines and destined to be hitting the beaches of the Pacific Islands or being a foot soldier in Europe, that left being assigned to the Navy or Army Air Corps, the precursor of the US Air Force. You have just braved the ravages of the Great Depression only to have been alerted of the devastating sneak attack on Pearl Harbor.
If you’re a young pilot already flying for the US armed forces you know where you’re going. Most likely you will be shipping out to the Pacific. The US Navy will need you as a carrier pilot and to land on new conquests as quickly as possible such as Guadalcanal. You have been briefed on the capabilities of your ruthless and savage enemy flying an aircraft that can out maneuver you, but you have a better gunnery platform in the P-40 or the F4F Wildcat. Over that unimaginably titanic blue ocean you will have to keep your course bearings, monitor your fuel consumption, lean up the choke on your engine when not in performance mode, and make sure to charge up your 50 caliber wing mounted machine guns before getting into a dog fight. Then making sure you do not get into a turning contest with your foe, you climb as high as your service ceiling will allow, fly out of the sun, and dive down on your enemy.
Sizing each other up
Knowing he can kill you using superior flight acrobatics you will have to use your superior speed, firepower, and diving capability, take your best shot at him, and if you miss dive away, climb back into a high elevation again and attempt to shoot him out of the air again. This happens as you endure anywhere from 4 g’s to 9 g’s that many times the earth’s gravity enough to make you lose consciousness and fly your airplane straight into the ground in a death spiral if you do not handle yourself properly. Perhaps you’ve tacked a photo of your girlfriend or young wife to the inside of your cockpit to look at during those monotonous hours of idle flight between sudden death defying moments of aerial combat.
The hard facts
If you have been thoroughly briefed you must know that if you get shot down you must have the presence of mind to crawl out of the cockpit onto the wing root, jump off the stricken fighter plane, and pull the rip cord, but that’s not all your briefing has revealed. They have informed you that the enemy aviator may try using his 20 millimeter cannon to cut you into pieces or even the leading edge of his wing to decapitate you as he flies at top speed through the air all the while smiling at you through his cockpit sadistically as he approaches.
As an American you have been trained to survive and fight another day, but through the regimen of Bushido your opponent is willing to die as an honor to the spirits of Emperors of the past and kill you with total disrespect should you be captured with all the cruelty necessary to achieve that gruesome goal. So, being that it is highly likely you were raised in a Judeo Christian ethic, your enemy has no mercy and will give no quarter. It is as though you are facing an alien from another world yet he is simply a warrior from another culture trained to have no remorse, no sympathy, and to win at any cost for he is the aggressor!
You have been forced to grow up in a matter of weeks subjected to conditioning, training, and learning to kill as a reflex action and at all costs to guard your wingman as he would do for you, and that could mean certain death as well. He who flies behind the lead pilot to keep his buddy from being shot down from behind could mean he is the one going down in flames!. This is what your world has become. The horrors you will face may differ from a US Marine wading ashore on an island armed to the teeth with hostile Japanese soldiers, or on a battleship that may take a salvo that blows the vessel to bits and devours men in fire and steam explosions, but you have the terror of air to air combat to face.
In all this, there is a noble cause. You and millions of young men like you have been called upon to be the chess pieces of a bigger game board. That chess game means the liberation of island groups and enemy strongholds determined to prevent you from attaining your goal. All this after just surviving the worst worldwide economic depression modern man has yet faced. The only link you have with the real world back home are letters, maybe gifts, and newsreels. This is how the world has transformed for you and the millions who signed up to defend their country with a courage and patriotism most Americans would be hard pressed to find within in themselves today. You have not had much in the way of shared experiences from past veterans of war as the World War I survivors have been largely dismissed and pushed under the rug, even routed from their shanty towns in the midst of the depression when denied the pensions they were promised!
Yet today, in the current era, an existence of unmatched prosperity, lack of accountability, electronic desensitizing, TV worship, and a host of false messiahs known as movie stars who would rather protest against their country and decent moral behavior than fight for their home, the hero is the oddball, the anomaly, and the spineless “Snowflake” has become the norm. The very thing that your grandfathers fought against, fascism, is now alive and well in America. The Communists who forced America once again to shed blood in countries like Korean and Vietnam are now gaining ground in your America because the modern day student is so hypnotized by entitlement and so indoctrinated that they can’t tell the difference between a Constitutional Republic and an oppressive Communist regime. This is today’s age of uncertainty it is the “Age of Information” according to some, but perhaps this is just another rationale for the age of capitulation!
Fossilization of ethics
It will not be long before these facts mentioned in this article will vanish in the mist of time, conveniently forgotten so that bravery and patriotism can be minimized into anomalies irrelevant to a day when government has become the god and man must serve it rather than the intentions of our forefathers who intended that government remained in service to man. With the guarantee of a mediocre existence rather than the limitless possibilities of competition and risk, society has transformed into a colony of conformists who choose consensus over individual freedom and innovation. The warnings of the science fiction writers, philosophers, and the followers of Christ have been overlooked and relegated to the dusty bookshelves of arrogant disregard. This twilight zone of a new world is fast upon us now, a mockery of a environment that provided opportunity to those willing to use courage and freedom as the tip of their sword.