Can you believe it? We have finally arrived to the month of December and 2020 is almost over. Most of us thought that it would never end, but the year is drawing to a close.
So what do we have to say about this month? Why not start off at the end. Everyone knows about the celebration that takes place on 25 December. Most Americans celebrate this day as the traditional day that Christ was born. In the early days in Europe the church held a special service to celebrate the Nativity, or the events that surrounded the birth. There were also many pre-Christmas winter festivals that were held that had lights, candles, evergreen trees, and other symbols that represented everlasting life. There was also a Roman festival that coincided with the winter solstice, which fell on 25 December in the Roman calendar. Scandinavia had a Yule Festival that went for twelve days and led up to late December. These customs from long ago all helped form what we now call Christmas.
We wish all our veterans and their families a very Merry Christmas. We hope that you have been a good boy or girl and that you get lots of presents and goodies this year. We also wish all of our older veterans, that are in nursing homes, VA facilities, and home care facilities, the very best and we thank them for their service to our country.
December is a busy month for veterans. First and foremost is one of those days that we can NEVER FORGET. 7 December 1941 is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day…a date that will live in infamy. On this day, the Japanese Navy attacked US Forces in Hawaii. Here is a summary of the losses: 20 ships destroyed or crippled, more than 300 airplanes lost, drydocks and airfields destroyed, 2,403 American soldiers, sailors, Marines, and civilians were killed, and over 1,000 were wounded. What saved us, in the long run, was that our carriers were all out to sea or were in other locations. I’m sure you all know how the story ends!
This attack got us into WWII and that devastating war, over the next four years, resulted in over 16 million service members serving in the military. Estimated U.S. deaths during WWII were about 407,000 military and 12,000 civilians. The total cost of this war, as a result of the Pearl Harbor attack, is difficult to measure. We came out of this war as the premier world military power and we also had atomic weapons. Never Forget.
On Sunday, 13 December the National Guard celebrates its 384th Birthday. They trace their founding all the way back to 1636. In a move that would create the first militia in North America, the Massachusetts General Court in Salem, issued an order on 13 December 1636 that required ALL able-bodied men between the ages of 16-60 to create a standing army for protection. With that order, what we now know as the National Guard, was created. An Army of citizen soldiers who could be called upon to fight when needed. 384 years later the soldiers and airmen of the Army and Air Force National Guard stand ready to serve. A very Happy Birthday to them all.
On Sunday, 20 December we celebrate the 1st Birthday of our newest service. The U.S. Space Force, once a branch of the U.S. Air Force’s Space Command, was established as an independent branch on 20 December 2019. It has two functions: to provide freedom of operations for the United States in, to, and from space, and to provide prompt and sustained space operations. Air Force personnel began transferring to the Space Force in FY 2020 and Army and Navy personnel will transfer in FY 2021. There are currently 16,000 personnel in the Space Force and there are also billets for up to 10,000 civilian personnel.
Our VFW Post 2933 is now in possession of several Space Force flags thanks to the generosity of our member John Mihaly and his wife Dana. We wish our newest military force a very Happy 1st Birthday.
PS: Another news worthy item is that we got word of a GROUND BREAKING for Patriots Hall on 7 December 2020. We will see. We hope that this news holds true. We will give an update in January 2021.