October 19, 2023

A letter to our grandchildren about the latest war


Dear Wyatt, Hayes, William, Henry, Fenn, Bayard, Smith and Stella,

            War. War. War.

Whether you’ve thought about it or not, each of you was born when America was at war, in either Iraq or Afghanistan. You may have seen the news coverage of our troops leaving Afghanistan in 2021.  That 20-year war was our longest ever. 

Why were we fighting over there?

None of you was alive on Sept. 11, 2001.  Four airplanes were hijacked by 19 evil men who crashed those commercial planes and killed 2,977 victims.  America went after the monsters who masterminded this scheme.

Thousands of U.S. lives were sacrificed in the ensuing war, and trillions of dollars were spent for uncertain results.  But brave men and women represented you and me in an honorable way. Never miss an opportunity to say to our troops, past or present, “Thank you for your service.”

Your great-grandfathers NeSmith and Shirah fought in World War II.  Their generation—often called the Greatest Generation—is the reason you and I speak English and not German or Japanese.  If you don’t understand that, ask me. I will tell you about Pearl Harbor.

You may have overheard discussions of a possible World War III.  Let’s pray that never happens. But consider these events:

First, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s bloodthirsty dictator, ordered an invasion into next-door Ukraine in 2022.  Ukraine has strategic ocean access, energy reserves and vast agricultural resources.  Putin wants it all. He doesn’t care how much money or how many lives it costs.

Ukraine is America’s friend.  We aren’t sending troops, but we are supplying billions of dollars in equipment and aid.  Russia doesn’t like that.  Neither does Russia’s friend, China. We must also remember North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, who is a buddy of Putin, too.  He’s shipping munitions and equipment to Russia to help kill more Ukrainians.  In a word, it is scary.

And now comes the attack on Israel. The country is one of America’s best friends in the war-torn Middle East, where fights have been going on since biblical days. Israel has one of the world’s fiercest armies.  But as America was caught off guard on 9/11 and in Pearl Harbor, Israel was surprised when Hamas crossed the border and slaughtered Israeli men, women and children.

Bodies were riddled with bullets.  Heads were hacked off and worse.  Pull out your dictionaries. Oh, I’m old-school.  You’ll use your cell phone.  Google the word “atrocity.” Israelis are calling the Hamas-led atrocity their country’s 9/11. This attack has killed the most Jews since World War II. Please do your homework on the horrific acts of the Holocaust.   

You’ve seen and read the news.

America is clear: “We are on our friend Israel’s side.”  Let’s hope we don’t send American troops into that war.  But, like it or not, we’ll provide as much money as Israel needs.  We have warships standing by to make sure Iran and other Arab countries don’t jump in to help Hamas.

Dear ones, Google “powder keg,” too. As bad as the bloody situation is, this powder keg could explode in a way that forces America in deeper than sending money and munitions.

As your grandfather, what can I do to keep us out of World War III?

The answer is nothing. Nonetheless, we cannot surrender hope or stop praying for peace.

A good place to focus our efforts is right here at home. Perhaps your generation will show us how to find peace among ourselves, before we lose the ugly “war” inside America.

We can’t give up.