Franklin Roosevelt's message of 1942 is as appropriate now as it was then.
Many American souls were being tried after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor late in 1941and many were inclined to feel hopeless and unable to assist a nation in crisis. Whatever one's political leanings or proclivities, the fact is that President Franklin Roosevelt time and again rose verbally to the occasion and set the tone for what had to be done. He was our Winston Churchill.
One of Roosevelt's many stirring and inspirational utterances came in 1942 as the nation and its people began a gruelling four-year effort to achieve victory over Germany and Japan. Those in the armed forces quickly learned their jobs and their challenges the same as our military people are doing today. But what about the others, those who could not serve?
Said Roosevelt at this critical time in his "Call to Sacrifice":
"Here at home everyone will have the privilege of making whatever self-denial is necessary, not only to supply our fighting men, but to keep the economic structure of our country fortified and secure during the war and after the war."
The battle lines in the war against terrorism are not nearly as clear as were those in 1942. But that 59-year-old message is just as appropriate.
We must be prepared to sacrifice in countless ways and we must continue to look forward to productive routes to follow after we are able to gain control over this menace. We will need to "win the peace", too.
It is important for us to remind ourselves daily that we have passed mountainous tests before and are capable of doing so again. Remember the World War II tune, "We Did It Before and We Can Do It Again."
We did and we can. It will not be easy, but the frightening alternatives cannot be accepted as options.