Years ago, my husband and I were invited by the Senior Coalition to attend a private briefing at the Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C. The speaker was to be the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Upon arrival, we sat ourselves in rocking chair seats and watched unknowingly as the Secret Service began to come in and lock doors. A voice came over the speaker system saying “Ladies and Gentlemen, the president of the United States.”
President George W. Bush appeared from behind closed doors and thanked us for coming. That was truly a highlight in my history. When I think back, I have been exposed to a great deal of prominence, most of which is due to growing up in such close proximity to Washington.
I attended the inauguration parade for former President Eisenhower. I remember he and President Truman riding down Constitution Avenue in a convertible, each wearing top hats. I shook hands with Richard Nixon; he said it was good to see me. I went to the inauguration of former President Kennedy and later to the Rotunda to mourn his untimely death.
I have lived through WWII, the Korean War, and worked at the Pentagon during the Cuban Crisis, the Israeli Crisis and the Vietnam War. I learned to regularly check my working area for the possibility of a bomb and survived the hassle of protesters.
My experiences, I wouldn’t trade for anything.
I was so very young during WWII that I guess everything seemed so large and scary. I remember having nightmares of the enemy landing in my back yard. I remember the blackouts and the green shades, which prevented the show of light.
My cousin was an Air Raid Warden. She wore a helmet and carried a flashlight. I remember the ration books and the tokens used to purchase food. We also suffered more from shortages of housing, gas and tires because of the rapid influx of people. I still have my family’s ration books and tokens.
During the war, every Friday at school, we were offered 10-cent stamps to put in a booklet. Once the booklet was filled with stamps, you would receive a $25 War Bond. (The government should renew that practice to pay off the national debt.)
War should not be taken lightly. It should not be considered something that is happening to someone else in another country. If you have or have had loved ones in the military, you know what I mean. You can’t not be involved.
Our country is currently in a state of flux and the enemy knows that. Will they seize the opportunity? You bet your sweet life, they will try.
Our military and law enforcement officials put their lives on the line each day to keep this country safe from predators. It's up to us, as civilians, to support our guardians of peace and make wise decisions regarding choices of leadership.
The writer worked as an industrial specialist (mobilization preparedness) in the Pentagon for 20 years. She now lives in Myrtle Beach.