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Opinion: Random observations

The most disturbing day for my parents’ generation came on Dec. 7, 1941.

My father was 15 years old and attending classes at an institution known as the Tennessee Industrial School, a combination boarding school and orphanage. He worked in the fields to help earn his keep and graduated high school at age 17. He enlisted in the Navy after graduation and after World War II settled in Madera.

My mother was just 11 years old and one of six children. They had come to California in 1935 as part of the great, grapes of wrath Okie migration.

My mother was fond of saying we were rich Okies because we had two mattresses on the top of Grandpa Hawkins’s car.

Saturday is the 78th anniversary of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Solemn commemorations of this day will be held and those who perished will be remembered.

On that day, a great surge of patriotism sent young men and women to enlist in the armed forces in record numbers. We entered World War II with a vengeance and to badly paraphrase a great World War I song we didn’t come home til’ it was over, over there.

Both of my parents had passed on before what is considered the most monumental historical event of this era. The terrorists’ attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, had a similar effect on the country. The politics involved, the hate surrounding these events forever changed the way America sees itself.

Life before and after what is commonly known as 9-11 (nine-eleven) changed the population of America forever.

It may just be a huge coincidence but has it occurred to anyone else, the nationwide distress call is also 911? It seems like the supreme marketing department that arranges these things has a twisted sense of humor.

The 18-year-olds of the 1940s were so much stronger and tougher than the young people of today. Where our children need safe spaces when something bad happens, their grandparents picked up rifles and went to fight for freedom.

Not all young people of today are that self-absorbed. Many of them are still putting on the uniform and going off to fight the war on terrorism. They are to be admired for interrupting their lives to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Our sons and daughters are to be admired and celebrated.

When you see a uniformed soldier, be thankful they are missing their families on behalf of the United States of America.

As we strive to come to terms with racial equality in America, the advertising executives on Madison Avenue are trying hard to portray everyday life as a multicultural experience. People of color are being hired to help sell many common yet highly competitive products. Customers for fast food, wireless telephone service, and automobiles, just to name a few, are being portrayed by people of all nationalities and what appear to be blended families of all sorts.

On an episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show many years ago, she talked about the first time Diana Ross and the Supremes were on the Ed Sullivan Show. She said she ran around in her Chicago apartment house joyously yelling that there were “Colored people on TV.” Bless her heart. If that little girl had known what the future held for her, she would never have believed it.

As the holiday season approaches, keep the spirit of love in your heart. Be kind to strangers for no reason other than gratitude.

We live in the best country on the face of the Earth and we should appreciate it and celebrate it. Each day is a precious gift, don’t squander it.

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Long days and pleasant nights, have a good weekend.

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.

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