“We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you…” Colossians 1:3
At the recent book fair at the middle school I was surprised to find a reprint of one of the old “Dick and Jane” books. When I was in the first grade I was enthralled with the characters as I made the jump into the wonderful world of books. I purchased a copy of the book and as I read it I was transported to my childhood.
The 1950s and early 60s were a simpler time. Once the threat of living under a foreign power was eliminated, the nation was able to move on.
While our country wasn’t perfect, people seemed to have a hunger for the Word of God. Beginning in 1949, Billy Graham was catapulted into the national spotlight with his crusade in Los Angeles.
This turn to God continued into the 1950s with the first National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. in 1953. In 1954 the phrase “under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance. In 1955, Congress opened a prayer room in the Capitol and the phrase “In God We Trust” was added to
Washington wasn’t the only place caught up in the turn to God. Hollywood decided that religious movies were big at the box office and produced many, including “The Ten Commandments”. Many of the top movie stars appeared in one or more of these productions.
Even our president was a changed man. Whether or not it was from his participation in World War II, President Eisenhower began to look at life in a different way. After much thought and consultation with Christians he trusted, he became the first to be baptized while serving as president.
I’m sure the president wasn’t the only one changed by World War II.
Every family was affected in one way or another by the war, whether it was by rationing or having a son or daughter serving in the war. In most windows, a small banner with one or more stars representing a child serving in the war was hung. Some of those soldiers returned home while others are buried in another country or lost at sea. One of the most tragic losses was in the Sullivan family where five brothers were lost on the same ship.
We will never know what our servicemen and women went through in World War II, but I believe it was because of that war that we saw so many changes in the 1950s. One of those changes was in the observance of Armistice Day which ended World War I. In 1954 it was changed to Veterans Day to honor all the men and women, living and dead, who served their country.
Today, as we prepare to observe another Veterans Day, let us take this opportunity to voice a big and hearty THANK YOU to all who served and are currently serving our country. Don’t let politics stand in the way of acknowledging these brave men and women who keep our country free.
Debra Whittington is a longtime resident of Tucumcari. Contact her at: