I, Jim Vera, remember the scary sounds of World War II back in the 1940’s. I was born in 1936 and I was around six years old when the United States went to war. My parents were living in Alice, Texas at that time. I started my first year of school in Alice, Texas. We used to have protection drills every day at school and I used to cry every time. I didn’t understand what was going on. At home, at about 8 p.m. every night all the lights in the house had to be turned off and the whole town was dark at that time.
My parents moved back to San Buena Ventura, or Vera Ranch, in the community of Rios, Texas. We had no utility services at all, and very little money-all roads were caliche roads — made of white rock from the area — and very few people owned cars. My parents had to raise their own food and anything else they wanted to buy had to be bought with food stamps.
Although people didn’t have electricity at that time, people needed to have radios to listen to the war news. I remember my parents had a dry battery radio. We had to place the antenna on top of the roof of the house for the radio to work. At 7 p.m. every night we were all around the radio listening to the World War Il news.
Of course, all the radio stations that we use to listen to were Spanish-speaking stations at Corpus Christi and Kingsville, south Texas Spanish-speaking stations.
The war went on three to four years before ending in 1945. The United States stopped making cars in 1943, 1944 and 1945 I believe — all the resources went to fighting the war.
People were extremely happy at the end of the war — shooting guns in the air, big smiling faces, visiting each other, helping each other, and grateful for the military, soldiers, commanders, and the United States president, for the sacrifices they made for us.
We will not forget and will always remember those who sacrificed their lives for America and our country’s liberty. Broadly speaking, liberty is the ability to do as one pleases without hurting someone else.
During the war, I also remember that governors of the states close to the oceans assigned soldiers to protect their cities’ water supplies — protection from being poisoned by the enemy. We had great leaders protecting the U.S. from every angle.
Going back to the Spanish radio stations after the war ended, I heard very clearly the announcement on the Spanish station that USA soldiers found pamphlets written by the enemy saying that they would never beat the United States of America with weapons; the only way to beat the United States would be to get the leaders of the United States to fight against each other.
I remember the announcement, and the feeling stayed with me for many years until I decided to let it go and it faded away.
During my experiences of the war, there were times that I cried and was very scared, and yet I was well protected. I thought about all the children in the countries that were under attack running away from the enemy. I can’t imagine or measure the feelings they had and experiences they went through.
Should the blame of the war rest on the leaders of each country, for putting the citizens of their countries in danger? Was it the poor decisions of those leaders, lack of experience, love of power, or not enough education that led to the war? Are the citizens of each country to be blamed for voting for those leaders?
I believe we should respect our country’s leaders and our United States flag, and even more so our soldiers and commanders of the armed forces that for so many years have protected our liberty and freedom. Lots of them have sacrificed their lives for our country. We should respect our country’s history. It’s very important to write our own histories, too.
Broadly speaking, liberty is the ability to vote for who we please. If someone tries to tell a citizen of the United States how to vote, that is taking away the freedom of choice that we have as citizens of the greatest country of the world.
These are some of our choices that we must make while going through our lives — we need to think twice about being negative, resentful, angry, desiring revenge, and also having optimism, compassion, forgiveness, empathy, love, and how we live our one given life. It is a choice.
Remember, we all have choices to make daily, so as citizens of the USA let’s show our leaders that we can work together. Let’s show it by a smile, a wave of the hand, or a hello to each other.
And please don’t pass me without a wave — I have my own problems.