QUO VADIS – A U.S. WWII Veteran Surveys America

Paul Hanway, U.S. WWII veteran, looks at America in the 21st Century and asks: Can it regain honor and respect for its founding principles?

by Paul S. Hanway Jr. for The International Chronicles


A friend pointed out to me on the subject of modern-day Americans' respect and honor for their country's fundamental founding principles that “things are different now”, and that few of us are left. “Us” mean those who served in WWII. That the days of respect and honor were a long time ago. I can’t disagree with that in any degree. But then one must ask “How? When? Why?”

The When dates to after WW II. Looking back at attitudes surrounding prior wars there was certainly disenchantment during the Revolution with many agreeing with Great Britain. The Civil War had the most severe schism with the South attempting to secede from the Union. World War I had its core of objectors who subsequently increased as reparations were imposed on Germany.

World War II, on the other hand had the fewest disagreeing, with cries for Isolationism sharply limited. Although it was in part an objection to war with Germany which led to the Congressional un-American activities investigations during the Depression due to the unrest caused by Nazis, Communists and members of the Ku Klux Klan. Subsequently in the ‘30s the focus was limited to Communism. In the period between the two wars many Germans and Russians escaped Communism and Nazism, but some were favorable to those beliefs. There was sabotage and treason during WW II.

Following the war “McCarthyism” turned many against the investigations, and many more were subsequently lulled into disbelieving the threat. The takeover by Communism of many countries in Europe, Asia and Africa expanded to the Korean and the Vietnam conflicts, but despite this many upheld isolationism as the proper direction to follow. The argument was that it was not our war to fight.

The post-war Baby Boom and the virtually-unmatched prosperity following WW II permitted a huge majority to lavish on their children what they and their parents were deprived of during the Depression. Involvement in war meant two outcomes which were perceived by many as negative. Involvement meant controls on prices and wages. More to the point, it led to reinstituting the military draft.

From the ‘20s through the ‘50s Communists were in fact attaining significant numbers of positions on college and university teaching staffs in addition to the infiltration of the State and Defense Departments of the government. Additionally they were making inroads in the world of Journalism, and of entertainment. Among the campuses indoctrinating students in anti-American attitudes were Chicago U., Harvard, Princeton, Boulder, Berkeley, Columbia U., and a number of the “Liberal” colleges.

Anti-war, anti-draft attitudes were promulgated on the campuses rising to fever pitch in the ‘60s. Students and others were being fed the “oppression” of government at all levels; the need to be “free” of rules and regulations; and that the desirable freedom included freedom of sexual relations, and an anti-Puritan philosophy. Women’s Lib was part of it, and morphed into “Right to choose” and equality of women to do any job a man was doing. Overriding all of this was a sharp rise in Secularism, the discounting of God and Religion in general, replaced with Man as God without the stringent prohibitions and strangling limitations. And of course the sudden availability and popularity of illicit drugs resulted in senses of euphoria which further convinced the youth of the correctness of their position and actions.

For young, highly impressionable people who know they can solve the world’s problems all of this made perfect sense. And to many still does. But what it also led to was the distaste for giving up this new-found freedoms and the prosperity that was attainable, for a life in the military where one was likely to get killed. The disguise for this attitude was the cry of the “illegal, immoral war” in Vietnam. Why go into the military if it can be avoided, even as a Peacenik or as an Objector heading for Canada? Faking, or even creating disabilities or illnesses to avoid the draft suddenly carried little stigma.

At this time the Communist Party ceased running its own Presidential candidates with the reasoning that the Democrat Party already included most of the platforms the Communists favored. But many ― on the strength of claiming their desire to help the poor, the downtrodden, and “The Halt, The Lame and The Blind” ― were obliging Federal and State governments to provide ever more lavish Entitlements.

As Baby Boomers matured in age many chose not to admit the fallacy and negative results of the Statist/Sectarian views and programs, just as many will now be too embarrassed to admit that voting for Obama was a mistake of judgment. To further justify these positions the antidote was to blame America as an unfair, militarily aggressive, insensitive, Capitalistic country “ripping off” the citizenry and subjugating the rest of the world to its aims.

Challenged on this view they will resort to “S. I. N.”. The “S” for: “Shift” the subject; “I” ignore the issue; “N” name-calling. So how can they be expected to treat with honor and respect the country which has been so good to them, so generous with the opportunities for a good life, but so hung up on rules, regulations, and religion and the Ten Commandments? The Golden Rule is all that should be required of them for admittance to whatever follows life is “tolerance” ― and this is only necessary in dealing with those who agree with their political views.

So “dis” the country, the flag, the National Anthem, authority of almost any kind. Just grab the brass ring as it feeds entitlements, loans, grants, exemptions, exclusions, medical care, high-paying union jobs, lifetime retirement benefits after one term, free housing, generous paid holidays, much of life on the cuff just as most people live on their credit card balances. What’s right for the government must be okay for the people. Right?

Honor and respect....who needs it? But the challenge was “that we cannot do anything about the situation”, to which I beg to differ.

What we can do is explain to the younger generations, over and over if necessary, what the fundamental principles are that the United States Of America was founded upon; what the Constitution has meant to us for the last 130 plus years; and most importantly, what it would mean to individuals if we compromised those core principles for a Socialist/Marxist philosophy developed over 150 years ago under totally different circumstances, when very few people owned any land, and the vast majority lived lives of serfdom and want.

But a philosophy which promises much, but has cost the lives of many millions of people as Collectivist and Totalitarian Dictators ― and the Czars they appoint to control the people ― overthrow existing governments, country after country, none founded on freedoms such as America’s. Free elections? Forget it. Ability to use your own talents to make the living of your choice? Nearly impossible. The right to keep most of what you earn honestly? Not an option.

And so the question begs itself. Who will pay the enormous debt being run up in the U.S. to buy votes to make the “Hope and Change transformation” happen? The younger generations, either through default of the debt followed by ferocious inflation, and/or by confiscatory taxation.
The choice is theirs. People of my generation will thankfully not be around to suffer through it.



Paul S. Hanway, Jr., served in WW II in the U.S. Infantry and then in the Military Government of Germany. He matriculated at Lehigh University earning a B.S.B.A. from Denver University. Mr. Hanway is a staunch supporter of the goals of the Tea Party movement, seeing it as the last and only hope for the continuance of the American Republic. He is currently writing a political and social history entitled “The Story of The Rise and Fall of Paradise”.


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published this page in The Attic 2012-03-27 00:33:00 -0400