I was born in 1975, and every history class I took stopped at World War II. It’s the same story for every history class, at least since 1980. We dawdled over World War II, and suddenly the semester was over. This was even the case in my college history class. I took late American history on purpose, hoping to find out more – just to have the same lingering over World War II until the semester ran out. The professor went to great lengths to do 3 special presentations on the Presidency during the World Wars that stretched our study of them through the entire semester. Oops, times up. Hope you enjoy European History next semester.
It’s amazing how we try to erase history. Even the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. is amazingly simple, and devoid of any plaques giving historical context or quotes, like many of the others. The Korean War memorial is more artistic and, I’ll say, amazing with the holographic images. But still, all devoid of any information or facts on what happened or why it happened. Which is surprising, because the Museum of American History (also in D.C.) said Vietnam was the first war extensively covered on television – yet still, the images they had were filtered. That certainly won’t fly in this day and time, when everything’s broadcast immediately over the Internet (whether it’s true is another issue, as those hurried reports are often mucked up in the rush of breaking a headline – don’t even get me started on Sandy Hook and how flubbed reporting up blew up gun rights debates, per certain agendas - but that’s another blog).
I was floored when I saw the Korean and Vietnam Memorials in D.C. on my trip there in 2014. As I looked on the names of the lost stretching on and on, it occurred to me: this is why Generation X is so small. We lost all of these people who would have been fathers to our peers, had they lived. We’re still haunted by our losses, and future generations will never know why. All we’ll know is that it was horrible, that it was controversial, and that we lost.
I think that the veterans of those wars still deserve respect. Win or lose, they fought for us. Many died for us. They deserve honor. I hate to believe that sacrifice isn't appreciated, or worse yet is forgotten. People take too much for granted.
That’s all today. Have a Happy Friday, and a wonderful weekend.