March 20, 1942, my father, on leave from the Army, married my
mother in an Indiana courthouse, near where she was training to
become a Registered Nurse.
National Guard unit, called to active duty shortly after the
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, had been training for months in
the swamps of Louisiana, and this was the last chance these two
high school sweethearts would have to say their vows to each
other before he shipped out to an unknown destiny in war-torn
were nineteen years old, and they would not see each other again
until August of 1945.
Friday, January 24th, Ryan Sedlachek and Carrie Davis, of Omaha,
were married. They had planned a big wedding in June.
Nearly 300 invitations had been sent out. The cake had
been ordered. Counting the Maid of Honor and the Best Man,
ten attendants were to participate in the ceremony.
Instead, two witnesses stood beside them in front of a judge at
the county courthouse. The big wedding would have to wait.
Another war looms, and just as my parents and countless other
members of The Greatest Generation had to choose between a quick
courthouse wedding or the possibility of never having the
opportunity to exchange those vows at all, Ryan and Carrie chose
to stand before a judge and pledge their allegiance to each
other—"until death do us part".
Ryan, that is a real possibility. He is an Army reservist
with the 530th Military Police battalion based in Omaha.
On Wednesday of last week, he received orders to report for
active duty the following Monday.
something happened to him, I would never forgive myself for not
marrying him before he left", Carrie said.
2003 story of Ryan and Carrie Sedlachek is much the same as the
story of Don and Donna Patton 61 years earlier. America
has been attacked by an enemy bent on our destruction.
Tyranny, always present in the world, has once again reared its
head to threaten freedom-loving people, who must now lay down
their civilian pursuits and respond to a call to arms.
course, it won't take three and a half years for Ryan and Carrie
to be reunited, assuming that Ryan survives. But make no
mistake: the stakes are just as high.
why does this war feel so different? A number of reasons
come to mind. After America endured a stalemate in Korea
and a loss in Vietnam, we became a nation unsure of our ability
to win a military conflict. Ronald Reagan's victory over
our Cold War adversaries, followed by George H. W. Bush's
triumph in the Persian Gulf, helped to restore our confidence.
But our nebulous incursions into Asia still haunt us.
there is another reason for our uncertainty. We have lost
our moral focus and forgotten the lessons of history. The
Greatest Generation came out of high school knowing the
difference between right and wrong, good and evil. Today,
those lines are blurred.
unlike our parents and grandparents, who could recognize that an
attack from Japan was an attack from Germany, many Americans
today can't see the connection between Saddam Hussein and
terrorism. Moral relativism and political correctness run
amok precludes the profiling necessary to make judgments about
the motives and alliances of our sworn enemies.
Democracies do not wage war against one another. Liberty
creates a desire for peace, and the self-governing are content
to live and let live. It is tyranny that breeds war, and
it is the burden of free people to stop totalitarians.
the sake of America, I hope Ryan and Carrie Sedlachek understand
this as well as Don and Donna Patton did.