COLUMN: Learn lessons from yesterday to preserve the future

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By Curtis Ochs

Today, we live in a society that has access to every and any product you can imagine. We tote items to Goodwill stores, to missions, most churches have clothing centers, the list is endless.
A lot of items, if torn, dented, bent, faded, or otherwise less than perfect is, if not given away, trashed in some manner.
I am not the oldest man on the planet by far, but my growing up period started a little before the start of World War II.
Before my memory, our country had endured a severe depression, a major drought in the central U.S. and the world issues were similar to those of today. Before the shock of Pearl Harbor had worn off, our leaders realized we were in for a long, tough struggle, and we were on the short end of the supply chain.
It seemed to happen overnight, the transition from a stale, faltering economy, into a mad rush to produce the materials necessary to equip and field a large fighting force. Remington Typewriter Company started producing 45 Automatic Pistol Slides. Even Union Switch and Signal made pistol slides. The military instituted a draft, and all able-bodied young men were military bound.
We were introduced to Rosie the Riveter, who replaced the man in the factory.
Needless to say, all goods were bound for the military as needed.
On the home front, people adopted a slogan of “make do.” Whatever you had that broke, you patched it, someway, somehow. If you bought a sack of feed, it came in a printed sack. When it was empty, the lady of the house would take it and make items of clothing. If you had a cane-bottomed chair that had worn out cane, you wove a bottom using hay bale twine.
You got a card from the government that was called a “ration” card. Depending on what you did and how big your family was, you were allowed to purchase sugar, flour, coffee, tires, gas, etc. Most families had gardens in the summer, chickens, maybe turkeys, pigs, goats or cows (at least a family cow for household use) and other animals deemed edible.
A search was made every fall for a “Bee Tree” to borrow some of their honey. Everyone wore patched clothing. Shoes were re-soled. We survived, and we won the war.
Today, we fight a weird battle with those who wish us harm. We are seeing our military needs increasing at a regular rate. The demands on our troops have not changed. The needs they have are also the same.
What has changed is our reaction to what is going on in this country and around the world. We have tasted a small drop of what it is to not have a wealth of goods and merchandise. We are risking the future of our children with the paths we now travel. We must get a grasp of how important it is to not waste our limited resources without caring about tomorrow. Every item we can recycle and reuse is helping preserve a future for our children. We do not want to leave a wasteland to our future generations.