My father fought in Japan before I was born, and, obviously, he was one of the ones who got to come home and start a family. He didn't really talk about the war, itself, although he would talk about how we needed to appreciate having clean drinking water whenever we wanted. That was the one of the two personal experiences he would share about his war experience - stories of not having clean water to drink and stories about sleeping in fox holes. He would, however, mention that names of buddies. Somehow, though, even though he limited what he would talk to his children about, the three of us grew up being very, very, aware of his experience. I guess that was because he often spoke about the things that led up to the war, the way people need to be willing to stand up to what they see as wrong, and the way Americans need to be very, very, careful about safeguarding American principles. I came along a while after "duck-and-cover" was being taught in schools, but I remember asking my parents what the yellow Civil Defense shelter signs downtown meant. We lived not far from an airport, so planes would be kind of low as they passed over our yard, where I would play. Because I was little I didn't know the difference between fighter planes and commercial planes, and I recall getting up the courage to finally tell my father I was afraid when planes would fly over. I thought we may be bombed. At the time my father said these words, "The planes that fly over are commercial planes. They don't have bombs. You don't need to worry about bombs because this country has such a good defense if anyone wants to destroy this country they won't fly over with bombs. They would have to do it from within." Once I had been reassured that the planes that flew overhead were not war planes I stopped worrying about being bombed. My father died 30 years ago, but his words rang in my head on September 11, 2001, when my childhood nervousness about the damage planes could cause and his words, which were both poignant and true, re-joined hands in a new generation. I grew up being very aware of how fortunate I was to have come along after the horrors of World War II, but I think I grew up, too, with a corner of my mind reserved for the sobering awareness of what had gone on just four years before my older sister was born. It was party because I had grown up in a time when patriotism was heavily emphasized in school, but I know, too, that my father had wanted his children to have some idea of history and sacrifice, even if he wasn't about to talk about the gory details. It is difficult to put into words the way someone of my generation - born into peace and given an idyllic and wonderful childhood - could need to find the balance between being aware of the horrors that came not so long before I was born, not wanting to presume to borrow someone else's heartaches or understand their sacrifices, and yet knowing how important it is not to allow any of it to be forgotten. Its difficult to figure out why, when I came along in an era of relative peace, thoughts of World War II still - all these years later - bring me to a place of somberness that I wouldn't think they could. Today, decades after my father spoke those words, I worry that America could be more at risk of being destroyed from within than ever before - and not necessarily because a few terrorist freaks but because so many people who have come along after my generation have been just that much more removed from the sick, twisted, and weak thinking that drove the world into the second World War. My father never got to see my three children, but I've tried to raise them to bring strong and to be very aware of the need to safeguard the principles on which America was founded. I've tried to keep the legacy of my father and his generation alive and to pass it on to the grandchildren he would never see. My generation - the Baby Boomers - has not always been known for its appreciation of all those people who went into Hell to restore freedom and to fight, too, to defend the nation build on the principle of that freedom. I think, because those of us who grew up on-removed from World War II almost felt we should not presume to know what what we could not know, respect rather than lack of it, has often resulted in my generation's relative silence. Maybe if I had still had my father around when I was a good and mature late twenties or older he would have shared more about his experiences during the war. As it is, I was left only with the things a father would share with a very young daughter - but those things have served me well nonetheless.