Unbeknownst to the vast majority of us, enemy planes flew over Bug Light in South Portland recently, while submarines lurked and aircraft carriers stood guard on the horizon. Smaller landing craft dispatched divers bent on capturing the unwitting kite-flying, dog-walking, cycling and strolling civilians trying to enjoy a sunny Sunday afternoon at the park.

Fortunately, a trusty band of 7-year-old and 8-year-old boys, armed with plastic rifles and nerves of steel, defended us for all they were worth and saved Casco Bay, if not the entire state of Maine and life as we know it in these United States.

Before witnessing this band of brothers hard at play, I had no idea that kids still had imaginations. I am overjoyed to know this, for I was under the impression that electronics were the only things capable of capturing and holding the attention of today’s kids.

I am heartened to know that creativity flourishes still and that the games my brothers and I played 50 years ago still exist.

The relaxed mother of one of the boys, herself enjoying the cool breezes and brilliant sunshine, told me that her son has to earn his video game time. “An hour of reading or an hour of playing outside might get him an hour of playing video games,” she assured me. “Their favorite place to play war is Fort Williams Park,” she added.

I can just imagine how much fun it would be to play war, hide-and-seek or any other old-fashioned game at Fort Williams. Something tells me that if I encounter these same boys five years from now, they will be sporting earbuds and cellphones, probably with their hats on backward. That would be OK with me, especially knowing that for at least one afternoon when they were younger, they were allowed to be just kids.

When I asked them if I could take their picture, they were all smiles and most polite, although they did not want to give up their posts for very long because duty was calling.

My two brothers and I played war with toy rifles. Our guns looked real but we had imaginary grenades. Our dad was a World War II bomber pilot, and we played war by the hour with his helmet and air mask and some of his stories and sense of patriotism.

We made a bomb shelter in our cellar and stocked it with flashlights, transistor radios, comic books, cans and can openers, mattresses and pillows. Somehow, I think our mother, like the mother at Bug Light, was more interested in keeping us physically busy than she was preparing for Armageddon. We turned out to be pretty good citizens, and these boys will too. I’m glad to know that the future of our world rests in the hands of the brave warriors I encountered this past weekend.

Mission accomplished, boys.

Special to the Telegram