I was 10 years old on Dec. 7, 1941, and like most children of the Great Depression, I was accustomed to simplicity but unfamiliar with real fear.

After all, our fathers had fought the “war to end all wars,” thus guaranteeing our safety. Once we heard the fearsome news that our country had been attacked, we lost our childhood innocence and entered the frontiers of adulthood far too soon.

Before long, our older brothers, cousins and neighbors were on their way to foreign shores to fight for our freedom in what became World War II. Later, we sent our husbands to Korea; after that, our sons to Vietnam; and now, our grandsons (and also our granddaughters) to Iraq and Afghanistan. But, despite all the warriors in all the wars, we are far from safe. Sacrifices are still needed to maintain our way of life, and still our youth are prepared to make those sacrifices.

My own grandson, a graduate of a small Maine high school and a 2010 graduate of West Point as well, is now a helicopter pilot and is getting ready to join his Army brethren in Afghanistan to continue the tradition of sacrifice.

It is fitting that on the 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, we take time out to honor all those who have put their lives on the line in our behalf.
However we feel about past and present conflicts, it is our duty to give thanks to the men and women who have made it possible for us to do so.