Posted to OGR on 0523/2010
When I sat down to write this column I was listening to Our Generation Radio and DJ Otto started playing the Grass Roots’ "Let's Live for Today." That took me back to the spring of 1967 when I was playing it on the radio. The song quickly became popular with the record buying public, selling over two million copies in the U.S. and finally peaking at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 during June 1967. As well as being a hit with the U.S. audience, "Let's Live for Today" also found favor with young American men serving overseas in the Vietnam War. Bruce Eder of the Allmusic website described "Let's Live for Today" by The Grass Roots as "one of the most powerful songs and records to come out of the 1960s."
The turbulent times of those days 43 years ago were strongly reflected in the lyrics of "Let's Live for Today." Many of my high school buddies were serving tours in Vietnam and the rest of us were in college and serving in the military reserves. It is time to remember that some Americans didn’t come back from the jungles of the Pacific, the rice paddies of Vietnam, the fields of France or the deserts of Southwest Asia. Next weekend is Memorial Day weekend, and is a time to remember the sacrifice our forefathers and friends made in the defense of our freedoms.
On June 6, 1964, I was a Midshipman in the Naval Reserves, standing on a bluff in Normandy overlooking “Omaha” beach. As I stood there with a couple of buddies, in my mind’s eye I could see the landing crafts crashing into the sand, I could hear the explosions and smell the stench of battle. Little did I know that the very next year, I would be training at Little Creek Virginia, using some of the very same landing crafts that hit the beaches in front of me. Thirteen years later, I was a civilian on a business trip to Honolulu, standing on the concrete monument that spanned the sunken battleship Arizona. There, I could see the Zeros skimming low across the water of Perl Harbor dropping their torpedoes and spraying the ships anchored there with withering machine gun fire.
As we go about the activities of this coming Memorial Day Weekend, let’s take a moment to remember our fathers and brothers who gave their all so we could enjoy the freedoms of this great country and do more than “Live For Today.”
Copyright 2010 Rick Wrigley