USA = Un-Sacrificial America

The United States of America has seen better, more productive and affluent days.  Our economy is still struggling, we are in the longest war in our history, 9/11 is still fresh in peoples minds, and gas prices are nudging towards $4 a gallon again.  Mark this with rising college costs, lack luster job reports, political rhetoric and debates over fast food chicken and the countless other things in our society and it can be tiring.  Regular Americans are looking for hope and an upswing.

I know my job would be easier if the economy was doing better.  Then people may give more and my church wouldn’t be feeling the crunch we are feeling right now.  I too would love an upswing so I could possibly get a raise and provide a little ease in my personal family budget.

These are not false hopes and pie in the sky ideals but to get to a healthier economy it will take something that the majority of Americans have forgotten about, sacrifice.  When our country was involved in other wars families were put on rations but my grocery store is still stocked to the hilt.  Women went to work in the factories because all the men were away, now, unless you have family in the military you probably don’t think about the men and women overseas in the war zone.

Generations behind mine, those who grew up in the first part of the 20th century understood what it mean to sacrifice for our country.  Not just with military service but with financial implications to their daily lives as well.  I am sure they probably didn’t like it and some probably fought it, but it was better for our country as a whole and made it possible for us to be where we are today.

If we are going to EVER get out of the debt we are in; if we are ever going to get back to an economy which is beneficial to everyone (let’s face it some people are still making a ton of money these days); if we are going to be a healthy society that seeks equality; if we are going to have local, bottom level, governments allowed to provide for its citizens then it will take sacrifice.

There seems to be a mentality now that somehow government either by increasing it’s size or decreasing it’s size will fix everything.  Cutting spending and taxes or increasing our spending and taxes will solve all our problems.  But the truth lies in simple math.  If we want to get out of debt then we have to spend less than we take in.  It will take sacrifice to get there.

As a Christian I am use to the idea of sacrifice because I worship a savior that sacrificed everything for me and all of humanity.  I promise I will learn contentment and practice simplicity if it means I can help build up this wonderful country I call home.  I am willing to give a little more if it means others will have something.  I am willing to do without in order for others to have something.  But that is just me.

If you asked people in your local Walmart if they would be willing to do the same I have a hunch they would say no.  Somehow all our problems will have to disappear and be made better without it effecting people.  That is because we, as a culture, are not willing to sacrifice for the greater community.  We are a WIFM (What’s-In-it-For-Me) Culture and according to that ideology sacrifice is not worth the cost.

Are you willing to make a sacrifice to better our country, our world?

Atomic Bomb 64 years later

The Big Picture has a wonderful and dreadful set of photos out today marking the 64 year anniversary of the US dropping the atomic bomb. I think we as a country forget the pain and suffering we have caused others by dropping the only two nuclear weapons. 64 years ago tomorrow we killed a lot of innocent people, A LOT! Lord forgive us, for we knew what we were doing.

Here is how the photo essay begins:
Tomorrow, August 6th, marks 64 years since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan by the United States at the end of World War II. Targeted for military reasons and for its terrain (flat for easier assessment of the aftermath), Hiroshima was home to approximately 250,000 people at the time of the bombing. The U.S. B-29 Superfortress bomber “Enola Gay” took off from Tinian Island very early on the morning of August 6th, carrying a single 4,000 kg (8,900 lb) uranium bomb codenamed “Little Boy”. At 8:15 am, Little Boy was dropped from 9,400 m (31,000 ft) above the city, freefalling for 57 seconds while a complicated series of fuse triggers looked for a target height of 600 m (2,000 ft) above the ground. At the moment of detonation, a small explosive initiated a super-critical mass in 64 kg (141 lbs) of uranium. Of that 64 kg, only .7 kg (1.5 lbs) underwent fission, and of that mass, only 600 milligrams was converted into energy – an explosive energy that seared everything within a few miles, flattened the city below with a massive shockwave, set off a raging firestorm and bathed every living thing in deadly radiation. Nearly 70,000 people are believed to have been killed immediately, with possibly another 70,000 survivors dying of injuries and radiation exposure by 1950. Today, Hiroshima houses a Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum near ground zero, promoting a hope to end the existence of all nuclear weapons.

Here is what Hiroshima looked like before the bomb.

Here is what it looked like after.