Over the last 100 years, America has been involved in a number of wars and conflicts. Perhaps the two that left the deepest impression on our nation were World War II and the Vietnam War. The
difference between the two could not be more striking.
America entered World War II reluctantly. For years, we maintained a position of isolation and neutrality, in spite of our friends cross the pond begging for our intervention. As Japan grew in military might, they were warned not to set their sights on America. “Don’t wake the sleeping giant” is what they were told. They didn’t listen. On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, and the Giant awoke.
America was thrust into the war, and the vast majority of our citizens got behind the war effort. Though the fighting on both eastern and western fronts was brutal and many lives were lost, the result was victory. Americans wouldn’t accept any other outcome.
The Vietnam war was entirely different. America’s involvement grew gradually through what is more accurately described as a political process. Many Americans did not understand our need to be involved in the affairs of the Vietnamese. Added to the lack of understanding was a war-weariness and growing passivism amongst the nation’s population. Consequently, the war in Vietnam did not have the backing of the nation like World War II did. The war drug on for 20 years, with the result being the unification of North and South Vietnam under communist rule.
Why did America win World War II so decisively and effectively lose the war in Vietnam? It certainly was not because of a lack of bravery in our soldiers. In both cases, they were willing to answer duty’s call and put their lives on the line to protect the honor and freedom of our nation. The difference is found in the will to fight amongst some of the population and the political leaders of the times. With the Vietnam War, America had lost its “fight,” therefore we lost the fight.
As Christians, we have been called to “fight the good fight.” We are to “earnestly contend for the faith.” We are to “endure hardness as good soldiers.” But the spiritual war we are in is long and brutal. No one can be blamed for becoming weary in the fight for truth, for righteousness, and the honor of the King of Kings. But we cannot allow weariness to result in passivism. We cannot allow the bloodshed to cause us to cower from the conflict. We must put on the armor of God that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil. If we do not, if we lose our “fight,” we will lose the fight, the good fight, the fight of faith.