Forbush: Sacrifice and The Fourth of JulyWritten by Guest Author | | GuestAuthor@toledofreepress.com
“Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make good use of it! If you do not, I shall repent it in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it!”
John Adams 1777
He heard the scream of the engine just before the large red zero flashed past his peripheral vision; he was always amazed he could hear those rotten bastards over the constant drone of the lumbering B-29’s engines, not to mention the additional noise of the gunfire from his fellow crew-member’s side guns. They were out here with a formation of fifty others, heading for the Japanese mainland, but they were also alone. He and the guys were always uncomfortable with these bombing runs to Japan, since they always had to do it without fighter escort. It was dangerous as hell, and they had always returned with fewer of their friends, but they knew it had to be done.
Another flash of a red zero entered his field of vision, this time the bastard was in his sights, and he let loose with a long burst from his tail gun; black smoke roiled from the Jap plane, he knew he hit the engine, but lost sight of it in a split second. Martin knew the enemy’s ploy; they would climb high above the Super Fortress formation and dive down on them like a bird of prey upon an unsuspecting victim—but this prey was not unsuspecting, and Martin let loose with another burst of rounds from his guns to prove the point—this prey had teeth.
Suddenly, the B-29 shuddered violently, and Martin’s tail gunner position filled with a thick, acrid smoke. They had been hit, and hit hard, he thought to himself. The pilot’s voice came over the headphones, his voice filled with tension, “we’ve lost her boys, both starboard engines are gone—we gotta bailout. Good luck!” Martin’s blood quickened, as he wriggled out of the tight tail gunner position and dashed for the side hatch, he seen his friends heading out as well. This is not good, he thought to himself, since they are deep within enemy territory. There were some dark rumors about how the Japs treated prisoners, rumors he hoped he would not learn about first hand, but there was no time for this. Martin pulled the side hatch loose and threw himself out of the stricken bomber, all the while reciting a prayer in hopes that something above the burning aircraft would reach down and guide him to safety.
The memories of the war washed over him as he clenched his teeth, fighting off the nausea that would haunt him the rest of his life. He messed up, and he knew it; he just could not eat fresh bread anymore—it made him violently ill. So too did rice and fish, so he usually kept his distance, and not just because he became physically ill. The digestive scars inflicted by his experience as a prisoner of war were not the only scars, but my namesake was a strong man, he never let anyone see the scars upon his soul inflicted by man’s inhumanity. Sadly, my great uncle Martin was long gone when my journey through man’s inhumanity commenced.
My great uncle’s sacrifice for his country was immense, a sacrifice shared by millions throughout the evolution of our nation. Many million others made an even greater sacrifice for the establishment and preservation of freedom and liberty. I often wonder, with another Fourth of July approaching, what these great men and women would say as they look upon a withering nation where freedom and liberty have become mere rhetorical tools used in a grand illusion to keep a people hoodwinked into submission, as the slave that is convinced of their freedom is fully invested in their servitude, and will fight to maintain the perverse comfort and familiarity of their solid gold shackles.
A government that regulates every aspect of life is not a characteristic of a free society. Yet in a world where words have little to no definitive meaning to the vast majority, the word “free” has little meaning, unless used to denote something taken from another. For others, it is a word that conjures up stereotypically patriotic images, which evokes a fleeting and misplaced pride within the populace. Thomas Jefferson’s tree of liberty is dying, and it is dying quickly. This is why The Fourth of July is not a day of celebration for me, but is a day of mourning, for the freedom and liberties that so many have made sacrifices to establish and preserve have been squandered and surrendered. When so many brave men and women are fighting in foreign lands to defend the constitution from enemies, foreign and domestic, I wonder if they will ever reflect on the meaning and concepts contained in the oath they swore, for the greatest enemies of American freedom and liberty are found within the halls of our own government.
This Fourth of July, like most others, I will ponder, where is the greatness within today’s generations, where are the strong Americans that are capable of the sacrifices exemplified by those who provided the freedoms that are now taken for granted, squandered, and surrendered without a fight. But, perhaps more importantly, where is the outrage over what has been lost? Sadly, it is hard to be outraged over the loss of something that most never understood, let alone knew they had.
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”
Thomas Jefferson 1787
Martin R. Forbush