Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day

It seems fitting this Memorial Day weekend, and nearing the anniversary of D-Day (6/6/1944), that I am just finishing up the book, The Victors, by Stephen Ambrose. Ambrose gives a fair view of both the heroic efforts of the NCO's and other enlisted men that made the success D-Day possible despite the miscalculations and errors that occurred during the landing and subsequent invasion to liberate Europe. The men up front, through individual heroism and leadership, were able to overcome many of the blunders of the commanders (right on up to Eisenhower). A good read and a reminder of the the carnage of war and the sacrifices made to save the world from Hitler and the Axis powers.

Here is a another review of the book that comes from Nathaniel Tripp, a platoon leader in Vietnam. I am not a veteran, opposed the Vietnam war and was a lottery winner in the draft in 1969 as an eighteen year old kid out of high school. I did not even know what "lottery" meant at the time and it is the 1969 military draft that I think of today whenever I hear the word. That's probably why I never play today's so-called lotteries. My winning number was 326--not a million bucks but felt like it at the time. I always look to those that served as far better judges of such books as this one from Ambrose. Tripp ends his review with an important distinction between the history versus the culture of war. However, what I took away from The Victors was not the culture of war, but more the amazing heroism, ingenuity and staying power of what Ambrose terms the "citizen soldier." It is on this Memorial Day we honor all those who have fought and died. At the same time we must remain on guard that the culture of war that Tripp is rightfully concerned about, along with misguided patriotic fervor and our politicians, does not lead us down a road that unnecessarily expends our most valuable resources, the men and women of the American military. I believe Ambrose successfully communicates that view.

I am always amazed when I look back at the efforts undertaken during WWII and wonder if the country could ever be mobilized in such a manner again if world events demanded it. I must admit to not being overly optimistic in that regard.

At this time for reflection, please click her and visit some of my prior Memorial Day related posts.

D-Day War Theatre
Hundreds of D-Day and other WWII photographs are available on Click on the image above and you will be taken to my account. Click "Enlarge" and go to the viewer. In addition to this image, you should be able to click on "Open Filmstrip" in the bottom left hand corner of the viewer and be able to access the many other D-Day and WWII photos.

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