Just a Wall by John A. Dwyer

There was a wall around the city. No one really knew when it was built, it just seemed to always be there. The citizens within the wall were from many countries, many religions, many races, and they all loved their city and didn’t want to leave it. Visitors came and went, apparently at ease, and without any visible restrictions to their travel. Life was good there. Clean air, plenty of food, incredible nightlife and daytime recreation abounded! The inhabitants were well protected, but at the same time, never felt intimidated by their armed protectors. Peaceful coexistence was the byword of the day in the city. Then, this beautiful, peacefulness was suddenly and painfully destroyed! All was chaos! Death, misery, and destruction were everywhere one looked. In what seemed like an instant, the world of this city’s citizens was turned upside down, never to return to the beauty and peace it had once enjoyed.
Invaders from another country breached the wall surrounding the city and brought with them hatred and death to the citizens. The invaders knew well in advance every weakness the city had. They knew when and where to attack. They arrived with overwhelming numbers and force. Information about how and where to attack came from people they inserted into the city, hidden as visiting tourists, local businessmen, even churchgoers! They blended in with the citizens and went completely unnoticed until it was too late. The invaders were skilled at subterfuge. Their lies were believed, and why not? After all, many of their nations were “peaceful, skilled, needed workers”!
The city finally awoke to the attack, but it suffered a great loss of life. Innocents died. Buildings were destroyed. Trust was broken and lost for many years.
The city is back to its old self now, peaceful and quiet, but it has lost its innocence. There are monuments to those lost. There is an ever-present awareness of just how vulnerable it is, despite its great wall. The wall has had armed guards on it ever since the attack. The citizens are more alert to “clear and present dangers”. Neighbors talk to each other out of both friendship and, informed safety. Very little of the destruction is visible anymore, but if one wants to look, one can find a bit here and there. 

The city is Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The attack occurred on December 7, 1941. “A day which will live in Infamy!

One thought on “Just a Wall by John A. Dwyer

  1. Another Wall by John A. Dwyer

    Not every wall is built with stone or steel. Walls are merely barriers, meant to delay entry or escape. No wall is impervious to breach or attack. If it is not continually monitored, defended, improved, it will eventually fail. We build walls each and every day, and we are seldom aware of them. Even local neighborhoods have invisible walls surrounding them. Try walking from one ethnic neighborhood to another in New York City, and you will very quickly be made aware of invisible walls!
    We build walls in our social media environments, unless you thought “blocking” was anything but a wall. Every social event is rife with subtle, invisible walls. A cold shoulder, a cutting remark, even a turn and walk away, are all walls. Subtle, social walls.
    Churches build walls by the simple act of invitation. “Come on in, all are welcome”, these words are on nearly every church in America. Behind those words is the understanding that when you Do Come In, you will become a member of that open church. You can come in and Not join the church, but you will never be invited to functions, because you didn’t register, and “we couldn’t locate you”. This wall is not an intentional wall, but it is present.
    There is another wall that few in America are even aware of. It is extremely expensive, it is underwater, and it has cost the lives of many men on both sides of the wall. Its construction dates back to 1949, and it is, without doubt, the most sophisticated wall ever built! It involves men and machines of every type. It has the most expensive machines ever built. It has involved the services of millions of men, most of whom never even knew of its existence, much less that they were actively maintaining it. It was called SOSUS!

    “SOSUS history began in 1949 when the US Navy formed the Committee for Undersea Warfare to research anti-submarine warfare. The panel allocated US$10 million (equivalent to $105 million today) annually to develop systems to counter the Soviet submarine threat consisting primarily of a large fleet of diesel submarines. They decided on a system to monitor low-frequency sound in the SOFAR channel using multiple listening sites equipped with hydrophones and a processing facility that could detect submarine positions by triangulation over hundreds of miles.”

    The SOSUS system effectively kept Soviet submarines at bay for nearly 70 years by a system of underwater listening devices, anti-submarine aircraft, and warships of every class and description. Very few people (at the time) knew the capabilities or even the existence of SOSUS. Operations involving it were kept secret even from the highest ranking officers and politicians without a “need to know”!
    This short entry is Not about SOSUS. It is about the fact that we are surrounded by walls everywhere, at all times, and are not even aware of most of them. Walls protect us. Walls exclude us. Walls can be friends or enemies, but we cannot avoid them because in most cases we are unaware we are even building them.
    The “Wall” proposed for our Southern Border is meant to protect us from invaders who wish us harm, not to exclude those who wish to be friendly. When thinking about “The Wall”, think more about why someone who is Sworn to Protect and Defend America, would ever be against a barrier meant to protect us. Think of “The Wall” as a filter that is designed to allow what is good in, and keep what is dangerous out.

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