By Bill Shepard
The old year is history, and a brand new year is beckoning for us to follow. Life moves us in one direction only, forward, always forward! A backward glance can remind us where we have been, but what lies ahead is a dark path! In some of my predictions, I have said that if life follows any kind of pattern we can expect a lot more of what we have experienced in the past twelve months. In short, the year ahead will be much like the year that we have bade farewell!
I have witnessed the beginnings of a lot of new years; I have a lot to compare with the one that is breaking at my feet. I have lived in times of wars, hardships, and yes, good times. I have lived under the leadership of Republicans and Democrats. I have seen evil raise its ugly head in an effort to destroy America with its might and power. Always there was a sense of security that in the end everything would be all right. I have heard boisterous threats made about destroying America, but they did not bother me; remember the cold war? As an American, I felt safe. I recall that tense hour in time when the Russian ships were speeding toward Cuba with their cargo of missiles to be erected just ninety miles from American cities. The young President Kennedy had given order to confront them and turn them back to Russia. (The year was 1962. It was indeed a tense moment. I remember! I was living in Florida at the time.) We all know the happy ending of that story, and we took a deep breath when the Russian ships turned back. Under the brave and courageous leadership of those we had entrusted our security to, I felt safe and secure. I wish that I could have that same feeing of security today. I cannot!
American has lost ground! Its people are divided, many have lost confidence in those who are at the helm of the good ship as it travels through uncertain waters. Try as many can, it is hard to think positive while living in such negative times!
I have been thinking to myself the question, “What will it take to cause those in leadership positions to arise to the task of bringing an end to the terror and the terrorists that run rampage over our world?
We have seen evildoers commit their barbarous acts and parade them before the world, as if daring anyone to rise to their defense. Thousands of innocent women and children have been slaughtered and their cry for help has been unanswered while free and strong nations boast of their mighty military but refuse to use it in an effective way! What will it take for the strong to use their might to put an end to the shame of what is happening all over the globe?
I am old enough to have vivid memories of what the world witnessed before and during World War II. A man named Hitler started his conquest to bring all of Europe under his rule. September 1, 1939 Hitler invaded his neighboring country, Poland; allowed to continue without interference, he moved on to Czechoslovakia. Unchallenged, his aggression continued and he grew stronger with every conquest. Too late, England, France, and in time, America, joined in the fight. After long years of fighting, millions of lives sacrificed, the most costly war in history came to an end.
Never again! The world cried, and this writer pondered at the time, “Why did the world of good men wait so long to confront the enemy?” I would never have believed that in my lifetime, I would see it happen again!
There is a saying, “those who refuse to learn the lessons of history must repeat them.” Is that what the world is seeing today? Many of our world leaders today were not even born at the time of which I write. Could that be the reason we are watching history repeat its lesson?
No one likes war! America had seen its share and paid a great price for participating in them. The alternative is to bow to the enemy and surrender our freedom and the good way of life we have enjoyed as Americans.
What the year ahead holds for America, I do not claim to know! By this time another year, we will have elected a new leader for our nation. That person will need to be a person of courage, wisdom, and spirited strength. There are many voices being heard today, all are asking for your vote. Our nation is in trouble, more than any of us really know. We should all pray for divine guidance in selecting those who will lead our nation through these perilous times.
Read again the words that are always printed on the front page of this newspaper. Here they are:
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
Note: I was never more proud of a South Carolina governor that when Governor Nikki Haley gave her rebuttal to the President’s State of the Union address! Enough said!
Mr. Shepard is a native of Darlington, S.C., and a current resident of Piedmont, S.C. and author of “Mill Town Boy” and “Bruised”. He has been sharing his tales of growing up in Darlington for decades, and we are delighted to share them each week.
His mailing address for cards and letters is: Bill Shepard 324 Sunny Lane, Piedmont, S.C., 29673.