“The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it,” President John F. Kennedy once said. Since 1938, Americans have dedicated a day to honoring the men and women in the military who have fought to maintain the country’s freedom. Next Tuesday, Veterans Day (November 11), the tradition will continue when the nation acknowledges their service and renews calls for peace.
The Spring Creek Sun asked veterans what they think should or could be done to end war.
Morris Kravitsky knows firsthand that “freedom is not free.” The 90-year-old served in the U.S. Navy during World War II (WWII). It is his opinion that there will never be a time when there is no war. “There are too many people who want to oppress others, and subjugate foreign lands,” he said. The best way to try to end war is through diplomacy. “Instead of fighting, we need to talk about our differences and come up with a plan to work together.”
Kravitsky served aboard a convoy ship that transported soldiers to military bases, and patrolled the waters for enemy planes. Remembering several close calls with German submarines and recognizance planes, he has never forgotten the fear of not knowing when the enemy would attack. Grateful that he survived, Kravitsky said solemnly, “War is a cruel thing… so many lives are lost on both sides. I could just cry whenever I think of all the young guys who were killed in that war.”
“War is inevitable because people always want more power,” said Irving Katz who joined the U.S. Navy in 1945. He was a gunner-loader aboard a destroyer ship that swept the waters for mines. “I wanted to fight for freedom, to keep my country safe,” Katz said. Every Veterans Day resurrects bittersweet thoughts and feelings, however. Proud that he served, he is sadly reminded of all the friends he lost during WWII.
The 87 year-old Spring Creek Towers resident believes the only way war can end is through continuous talks and negotiations. Both sides need to be heard, he said. A staunch supporter of the country’s young people fighting in different parts of the world for peace and democracy, Katz wishes they were back home working steady jobs instead of fighting in foreign countries.
During the Korean War, Bob Rosenthal said it was be drafted into the army or enlist so you could choose the branch of the military you would like to serve in. He joined the U.S. Naval Air Corps and became a flight engineer. Stationed in the Philippines and Okinawa, Rosenthal flew bomber planes on top secret missions.
He vividly recalls once flying in a plane over Korea with 15 others when a Russian fighter plane fired at them. Still pleased to have made a speedy escape, Rosenthal said, “They didn’t know we had hidden jets.” He also remembers tricking the Russians into thinking the U.S. had more planes than it actually had. Every month, his team painted a new identification number on the sides of planes that carried millions of dollars’ worth of radar equipment used to survey Korean territory.
“It’s hard to say what could be done to end war. Mankind has always fought,” he said. To reduce the amount of lives lost, the 86-year-old Spring Creek Towers resident suggests using drones (unmanned flying machines) so that U.S. troops do not run the risk of being killed while flying over enemy territory. “The less people lost during war is a win in itself,” he says.
By Amanda Moses
EDITED BY AGNES E. GREEN