In 1942 the U.S.S. Yorktown, an aircraft mauled at the Battle of Coral Sea, was thought sunk by the Japanese.
She survived and returned to Pearl Harbor. But estimates of bringing her back to service were in the range of several months. But CINC PAC Chet Nimitz needed her for the upcoming Battle of Midway NOW. Navy workers striving around the clock put her back into action within a week.
The U.S.N.S. Comfort, one of two U.S. hospital ships tasked with civil healthcare in time of domestic crisis, was in maintenance as of a week ago. To bring her up to full effectiveness was estimated to take another three and a half months. CINC Donald Trump told those responsible for her he needed her in New York Harbor NOW.
She will be in New York Harbor on Monday.
That is how a president leads a nation in crisis.
…On Saturday afternoon I watched the president launch that ship from Norfolk. His words, the ship, the music, the flags. Am I the only person who was choked up?
We hear Americans have not come together like this since 9-11. But 9-11, Thank God, was one day and two locations. We are in the third week of this fight. The effect ranges all over the nation and touches all of us one way or another.
It goes deeper than that. This, as the president has said, is wartime. This is early 1942 and watching that ship and that leader, I count my lucky stars at this time in this place that I am an American.
But I am just a citizen. I’ve been in the thick of things before. For me, that kind of adventure mostly passed with the old century.
However, like Ike at Telegraph Cottage before D-Day, Donald Trump is up to his neck in the battle and has a decision to make. Does he give the go ahead of not?
For Ike it was the weather and the German defenses. If bad weather cancelled or postponed the invasion of France it could go bad for the boys of the First Infantry Division, my old unit, on the beaches of Normandy. If the Wehrmacht were on their toes it could go worse.
For President Trump it is what to lockdown and what to return to normalcy. If he doesn’t quarantine the right places the virus will spread. If he keeps the nation on ice too long the cure, as he has said, could be worse than the malady.
Ike lived on a hinge of fate, the lives of many counting on his decisions. Trump faces the same call of destiny. Ike proceeded with the invasion during a God-sent break in the weather. The New World went on to liberate the Old.
May the same Lord of Hosts guide the hand and the mind of our president, as he faces the same hinge of fate.