American Grit

I didn’t yet know the hardened grit of America. We were in World War II—and I was only five years old.

I only knew of playing with toy cars in the sand, marbles in dirt circles—and the Dodgers.

Lee, about five or six. The car at second base wasn’t ours.

It was only later, in chats with family, that I recalled Mom’s ration stamps. I remembered them for meat, sugar, and other groceries. It was then that I first realized the fortitude in America’s collective will.

I can see them now, back in the fog of time, those stamps of different colors for different groceries.

I think they had stamps for gasoline too, but we didn’t have a car, so those stamps didn’t matter to us. A book from those times in Wantagh, NY:

It was a time for sacrifice for the war effort.

Even a cuppa Joe was sacrificed for the war effort

Families grew victory gardens.

Americans were glad to pitch in for our troops’ sake, for America’s sake. We sacrificed here, for our troops, over there.

Nat. WWII museum

The war was not only a country thing, it was a neighborhood thing, a family thing.

I remember Sonny, the son of our neighbors, the Benders. Sonny was in the Navy and died fighting a fire. His brother, Bob left his high school desk to climb into the seat of a B-24.

Bob Bender. Bob later married my sister, Anna

I remember the air raid sirens, and how we’d cover our windows with shades or blankets so that lights wouldn’t be seen from the skies. I remember Air Raid Wardens, in their pith helmets and arm bands. They’d bang on our door if they could see light in our window. There were no bombs, but the banging scared me. How many homes on this blue planet suffered not the bangs on the door—but the booms of the bombs?

I remember V-J Day.

It was the end of the war. My mom played our piano in the street; how incongruous—our piano—in the street! Right where that old car was, in the photo above. How could I ever forget such a strange happening? My sibs, neighbor kids, and I paraded down the street, banging kitchen pots with ladles and spoons. I remember the singing, the dancing near the piano. I guess there was a lot of drinking by the adults. I never saw such spontaneous happiness.

Mom, May 29, 1948, three years after the war, home with that piano

The thing I remember most about those days was the satisfaction, the pride of family and friends, long after the war. I grew up with that pride. I lived the war with family stories. I lived it again with John Wayne in Gung ho movies. I’m sure those films played a part of my joining the Marines.

America dealt with the war through a gritty, common will: The tightening of belts, the clenching of teeth, the fortitude to forge through to victory.

Today we are at war with Covid.

We have been invaded by a vicious disease, and we are fighting for our lives. We have already lost over 800,000 souls. The most America has lost in any war. We could have kicked the ass of these viruses early if we united against it. We could have saved tens of thousands of lives.

But we were divided, and we are still divided

We take political dumps of FUCK BIDEN flags on our American streets

Is this what a patriot does? Have you no grit, sir?

A “Manhattan Project” produced a vaccine—in nine months.

But too many won’t take the miraculous vaccines, only 62% at this late date are fully vaccinated. And so many moms, dads, grandparents—needlessly die.

So many Americans can’t put up with Covid anymore. So many are fed up with masks, and mandates. Are these demands too tough for us, are we not up to that “daunting” challenge? So many want freedom from inconvenience, discomfort, annoyance, impositions—now. So many Americans need cruises—now.

So many Americans need to be together with large, extended families as if a crisis did not exist. As if thirteen hundred Americans were not dying—every day. We can’t, we won’t, tighten our belts, grit our teeth for the war effort—and victory.

Where is the grit that supported our troops at Normandy and Iwo Jima? Seven thousand Marines died at Iwo Jima. More than that toll died this week from Covid. More than twice the toll of 9/11 died this week.

Where is the fortitude we once had, America? Where is the grit that let us give up so much for our Brothers and Sisters?

Imagine Americans, giving up burgers and that iconic, American joy—a cuppa Joe. Just imagine.

Young Marines enjoy fresh coffee after taking Engebi island, Feb. 1944. (Photo Nat. WWII museum.)

America, where is your grit?

Leebythesea

18 replies »

  1. Walter,
    Thanks for your comment. The saddest thing to me is that after over 205 million people have been fully vaccinated, there is still so much resistance. Only 62% are vaccinated at this late date. Too many people won’t get it for the wrong reasons. Glad you got yours. Let’s hope more get vaxed. Have a safe year ahead.
    Lee

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  2. Interesting story. I agree with the need for people to get vaccinated and keep this virus from spreading. The sad thing is that some politicians, the current president, our former governor and many others advised against it because of political reasons. And although I think that getting vaccinated is the right thing and have gotten 3 doses of it some will not get it because of this bad advice. I enjoy your blog. Happy healthy New Year.

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  3. Eddie,

    The post asks Americans to stop their whining and ball up.

    It’s only a needle, you get one for many other issues. Mask up when needed, take the vax.

    We should bow down to the pharmaceutical industry for producing this miracle. And yes, Trump deserves credit for it. It happened on his watch. So, take the damn thing! He did—privately.

    Get this thing behind us. Come together like Americans supported our troops in WWII. They were proud to do whatever they could.

    Every vaccinated American probably saved the lives of other Americans they encountered, Americans who refused to mask and vax.

    And neither will ever know one saved the other.

    I wish you well.

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  4. Stratos,
    Thank you!!! back at ya. Glad you appreciate it. More of us need to see past their biases and stick to the issues in the post. Mask up, get a vax, no biggie. Might be a pain in the butt after so long, but people have suffered a lot more than that for their safety. Thanks again.

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  5. Kath,
    Yes, working together is the key. That’s what I hoped readers would see. America worked together during WWII to defeat a threat to its security. Today, not so much. Too many search to find divisive issues and not stick to main tasks.
    Mask up when needed. Vaccinate, for yourself, your family—for America.
    Thank you.

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  6. Lee, isn’t the discourse that you criticize the very same freedom that our fathers fought to protect in WWII? Isn’t the government censorship that you celebrate the same government censorship that we fought? Dialogue of opposing views are the root of science and freedom to speak is the only road to truth.

    You’re way off base here, condemning those who ask for dialogue, and demanding compliance without explanation.

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  7. Yes. Grit.That’s what’s needed to get through the hardest times. Unity and grit. Sometimes we have to look at the bigger picture; it’s not always about us as individuals. We have to work together for the greater good sometimes. 😊

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  8. Sandra, “cowering in the basement” seems to be the meme of the day for some readers. Strange, so verbatim to another comment. 800,000 deaths from a “scare”? Some deadly scare, huh?
    Hope you stay well,
    Lee

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  9. The enemy has been beat. “Omnitron” is now no more than a common cold. Covid has a 99.49% recovery rate. The “vaccine’s” not working, as our “leaders” scramble to hide the facts. The vulnerable are learning truth from the alternative media and making their own health care decisions based on their vulnerabilities.

    Efforts to censor the truth, the scare people into cowering in their basements and demand Socialism are failing. The battle is indeed being fought and won, and the enemy we’re fighting against is much bigger than the Wuhoo Flu.

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  10. Comparing opposing an invading foreign army with mandating government censorship regarding personal medical decisions is apples and oranges. But if vaccinating, masking and cowering in your basement makes you feel patriotic, enjoy!

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  11. Diane, what a wonderful story of your own. Yes, let’s finally unite, as one nation,
    and bring down this enemy—for good. Thanks for your interest and support.
    Be well,
    Lee

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  12. Lee Happy New 2022 to you and your family! Lee another amazing story with fantastic photos as well! My Dad served in the Navy for World War Two as the Quartermaster at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He couldn’t swim or shoot a gun but had the highest intelligence score so they didn’t dare send him overseas. Quartermaster it was! He met my Mom there. She was a civilian secretary to him! They married May 20th , 1945 with Dad in his dress uniform. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story. Let’s unite and beat this relatively new enemy together as one nation! God bless us everyone!

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  13. well said. It’s not the country or the world I knew growing up in LB in the ’40’s. The 50’s were idealic. The 60’s troublesome. And on. We have so much to be thankful and proud of, but it’s all going down the drain in this toxic environment. We need real heros not flawed ones, to pull us out, and belief in them, not Emperor’s New Clothes ones.

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