Keeping Alive the Memory of WWII

World War II is a history lesson that stays alive in the hearts and minds of people everywhere. It’s often said to be mankind’s most destructive war, but it was also filled with many stories of humanity surviving against all odds and coming out on top. Many Americans who have family members or friends who served during WW2 are still fighting for their country today, while other states commemorate the time period through various means like television shows and museums. These memories help keep alive important parts of our past so we can learn from them and not make mistakes again.

The “what was ww2 about” is a question that many people are asking. This article will answer the question and give more information on what WWII was about.

During World War II, 16 million Americans fought in the military. In September 2018, less than half a million people remained alive. More than 97 percent of World War II veterans have vanished from our ranks.

The public’s interest in the war has dwindled as the number of individuals who experienced it on both the fighting and home fronts has reduced. An author of WWII novels informed me that interest in the fight isn’t what it was even a decade ago, and speculated on why: less and fewer people in the rising generations have a personal connection to the war – fewer and fewer have a family who lived through it personally. WWII is becoming an increasingly distant, abstract, and immaterial historical event for them. A fading black and white recollection with the vitality and allure of a stone monolith.

We believe it is the responsibility of Millennials to close this gap. To act as human wormholes leading back to World War II.

Blogger Jason Kottke invented the phrase “human wormhole” to describe how someone having a link to a former time might reduce the seeming distance between it and the present. Knowing that two of John Tyler’s grandsons are still alive, and that the entire country’s history can be encapsulated in just three generations, makes it feel like our country wasn’t even born that long ago. Tyler was born in 1790, the year after George Washington became president, and became the country’s 10th chief executive. Meeting Joseph Medicine Crow, the last living war chief of Montana’s Crow Tribe (who died only three years ago), was like “shaking hands with the 19th century,” as the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American Indians’ curator emeritus so eloquently described it.

When Millennials reach the same age as the generation who fought in WWII, that conflict will be almost as far in time as the Civil War is today. But it doesn’t have to seem incomprehensibly far away if our generation — the last to have a living relative who lived through WWII — acts as human wormholes in the decades ahead. If we take our children and grandkids to war museums, show them images of our ancestors and share their tales, and even have them watch the Band of Brothers miniseries, we can help them understand the war. Simply informing them that when they embrace us, they hug someone who hugged someone, who heard the news of Pearl Harbor over the radio, stood on the deck of a battleship firing at Japanese warships, sat in the cockpit of an aircraft flying over Nazi Germany, would be significant.

It is the responsibility of Millennials to provide a wormhole, through our personal memories of our grandparents, that keeps alive the reality of certain truths: that there are times when the forces of good and evil collide, that all men must be prepared to serve as citizen-soldiers, and that mass solidarity and sacrifice are required. And that it is conceivable to make such sacrifices and then behave as if they were little.  

 

Young people will, ideally, be better able to put the frustrations of contemporary life into perspective as a result of these wormholes. To comprehend how, after the horrors of battles like Peleliu and Okinawa, Marine Private Eugene Sledge “could be sincerely grateful for the rest of his life for clean, dry socks” and struggle to “comprehend people who griped because America wasn’t perfect, or their coffee wasn’t hot enough, or they had to stand in line and wait for a train or bus,” and struggle to “comprehend people who griped because America wasn’t perfect, To comprehend the reality behind the words of Ed Tipper, a soldier of the 101st Airborne Division’s Easy Company, who recognized that “Freedom isn’t automatic; it has a price” after seeing the atrocities of Nazi Germany firsthand.

The ability to go through the human wormholes of our lives will disclose to future generations that individuals who toiled and fought during WWII — our grandparents, forefathers — weren’t better than us in terms of being made of remarkable stuff. Rather, it will demonstrate that, when confronted with a situation that might have brought out their best or worst attributes, made or broke them, they decided to rise to the occasion. A respectful tribute to that timeless possibilities in human nature will be seen via the gateway of our wormhole testimony.

 

 

Related Tags

  • ww2 dates start and end
  • how did ww2 end
  • when did ww2 end in germany