During World War II, aboard the USS Nevada, I have felt the action and passion of the hazards of life. Here, there is always inequity of life. Some men are killed, some men are wounded and some even don’t receive injuries. Why me, why didn’t I become wounded or even die? I still don’t have the answers today.
Freedom — pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we don’t attempt to deprive others of theirs, or to hamper their efforts to obtain it. A man’s worst difficulties begin when he’s able to do things as he likes, yet an individual is not answerable to society for his actions, insofar as these concern the interests of no person but himself. Therefore, everyone should be more suitable to meet the duties and responsibilities of citizenship which were established during the hazards encountered by a newly created nation. When we lose the right to be different, we lose the right to be free. The value of freedom isn’t realized until it’s lost. The best test of freedom is the effectiveness of one’s thought to gain acceptance in the competition of social circles, and truth is the only discipline upon which their desires can be safely carried out. (Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1919).
I grew up in an age in which each of us poverty level Depression-era kids, knowing his regional actions, will hold close to what values he knows, to what he’s able to do. Now I live in an age disturbed, confused, bewildered, for all times are essentially alike — as soon as there is life and freedom and man does as he pleases in the spirit of freedom (often falsely encouraged by use of drugs), there’s the endangerment of abuse (misuse). The apparent lack of interest of the citizens themselves in the affairs of their city would eventually affect the value of their government legislative actions to the people they serve.
I have seen death, violent death, aboard my ship during the opening hours of World War II, and the smell of death remains in my nostrils today. I can only offer my fervent prayers and sensibility to those individuals nearest and dearest to those innocent victims of Sunday night, Oct. 1, 2017. (Aboard the USS Nevada BB-36, we didn’t need to be instructed how to pray in the midst of enemy action).
Charles T. Sehe, of Mankato, Minn., was aboard the USS Nevada during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He offers sympathy and healing to Las Vegas and the families of the deceased.