I came to the realization not too long ago that I have been on this planet for almost a century.
Those of my generation and I were born in the Great Depression, which was a time of great upheaval in the world. That wasn’t too long after World War I and the flu epidemic of 1918.
I was in elementary school when World War II broke out. German Wolf Packs were sinking ships right off our New Jersey seashore. We thought that German landing forces would attack the East Coast at any time and the Japanese would invade California. It never happened.
Shortages and rationing prevailed. Wages and prices were pretty much fixed. We had to make do with about everything. Our parents and grandparents were survivors of the Depression. It was a scary time. But, there was no hysteria.
As I remember, we had a couple of epidemics of something. I remember lining up in the basement of the Elizabeth City Hall for a vaccination. I don’t know what it was for.
In subsequent years there was fear that the Russians were going to drop an A-bomb on us. When the alarm sounded, the kids in school had to hide under their desks. Suffice it to say, the Russians never bombed us and neither did anyone else.
Fearful things gripped the nation many times. But we could recall the wisdom of Franklin Delano Roosevelt who said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Communism was thwarted in Europe and the Berlin Airlift twisted Joe Stalin’s mustache. American forces stopped Communist advancement in Korea. We had a polio epidemic and Jonas Salk developed a vaccine.
The Baby Boomer age group, of which our governor is a member, and the younger generations have not experienced the past scares like our senior community has. We come from pioneering stock that built this country and very little scares us. We learn how to handle it. And, it has all been handled quite well.
Richard Pender is the senior vice commander of North Brunswick American Legion Post 459. He writes the occasional column for Newspaper Media Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.