The United States is often called the Sleeping Giant. In the past, the United States has been known as the most powerful country in the world…back in the good old days, that is. Now China, Japan and Russia are also considered to be powerful countries where nuclear weaponry is concerned. The dollar was also the powerful currency, then and even now. The president of the United States was always considered the most powerful person, and I think still is today, or is moving back into that position. All these things considered, the United States was definitely a sleeping giant, because if it woke up it would do everything in its power to rectify things around the globe. As we saw on September 11, 2001, when terrorists attacked our country. Like Toby Keith sang in his song Courtesy Of The Red, White, And Blue (The Angry American), “Justice will be served, and the battle will rage. This big dog will fight when you rattle his cage. And you’ll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A” That is notoriously the way the United States has been when it comes to world conflict…slow to anger, but once we are in a war…we are in it to win it!
The same held true for the other wars we have been in. We might not jump in early, but when we do…look out. On this day, April 6, 1917, the United States Senate voted 82 to 6 to declare war against Germany, the United States House of Representatives endorses the declaration by a vote of 373 to 50, and America formally entered World War I. This action would be the one that would send my grandfather, George Byer to war. He was 24 years old. Grandpa didn’t talk much about his time in the war…at least not that I remember. I think that most of the men who came home after fighting in a war, are just happy to be home. They want to put it all behind them, and move forward with their lives, knowing that if it was ever necessary he would go back again. He was a patriot, and that was what patriots did. In fact, when the time came for the men to register for the “old man draft” of World War II…a time when men up to the age of 65 were required to register for the draft, Grandpa was honored to register, as were the other men between the ages of 45 and 65. These men felt like their time of usefulness was over, and when they were told that they were needed again, even if it was just for work on the home front, they all jumped at the chance to serve.
As for World War I, Grandpa would serve, and he would come home. Then, he would go on to live a long life…forever changed from the man he once was, because you see, war changes a man. They are changed by what they see, whether they were required to take a life or not. And if they were required to kill, then kill they would, because The Sleeping Giant had been awakened, and the Big Dog’s cage had been rattled. The United States would go to war, and they would win, along with their alleys, because losing was not an option…not if the world was to remain the kind of place we knew and loved. Germany was an evil empire, and that evil empire had to be stopped. I am very proud of my grandfather’s service, and I’m thankful that the Big Dog fought in this one and the other wars it has fought in. It was an important fight, and we needed to win it.