Friday, December 07, 2012

What if a World War broke out on a football Sunday in today’s age?

Dec. 7 fell on a Sunday back in 1941. And 7 a.m. Honolulu time is High Noon here in the real world known as Chicago.

Which means very well that the United States got pressured to give up its isolationist rhetoric and enter the Second World War right as the Chicago Bears were getting ready to play.

IN FACT, THE story in Chicago literally was that radio broadcasts of the Bears game got pre-empted by news reports about the war and the attack by the Imperial Navy of Japan at the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. While at the stadium, a public address announcement informed all military-types in the crowd that they had to leave the game to report to their units.

Which also means that there had to be someone who got all ticked off that “the war” would knock their precious Bears out of commission, or cause them to have to leave the game.

At least people back then didn’t dress up in so much blue and orange and paint their faces all sorts of outrageous colors. Because the sight of orange-faced Bears fans getting all emotional about the coming of war would have been a scary sight.

As for those of us Chicagoans who preferred to root for the Cardinals, keep in mind that it was the same game – the Bears were on the road at Comiskey Park, where they beat the Cardinals 34-24 en route to an NFL championship just a couple of weeks later.

NOW I REALIZE the happenings of 71 years ago that many people will pay tribute to on Friday are much more significant than any ballgame.

But you just know that the initial perspective probably included a few people who just didn’t “get it.”

Which makes it all the more notable that the eventual outcome of the Second World War was a uniting of our nation behind a “war effort” that we have never seen since – and likely never will again.

How many of us would be willing to make the sacrifices in our personal lives related to rationing of so many goods that were tolerated by the civilian population back then?

HECK, IT WAS clear during the past decade when U.S. troops were in Afghanistan and Iraq that the message being given to all of us was to live our lives to the fullest as though nothing extraordinary was happening.

In the early 1940s, that might well have been considered treasonous! Now, it’s the ultimate in patriotism.


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