World War Two was 85 years ago. That historical event is documented with a plethora of photos and films. Even with the visuals, it seems like an awfully long time ago. We lose a precious perspective if we forget historic realities were…personal. They really happened and people lived and died through them. I have come to the age when I realized, those participants were, my Mom and Dad.
Through a number of circumstances, just before being drafted, my Dad met a girl when he was traveling through South Dakota with the Civilian Conservation Corp. Who knows what attracted that young man and that High School girl to each other, reckon it was…personal.
The US came up with the idea that if a service person had been overseas for so many years and the war effort was winding down, an individual had ‘earned’ some time back home. So, a much skinnier Bill Flanders showed up in Ann Arbor to say ‘Howdy’ to his bride.
My Dad went back to Europe for the end of the active fighting. He saw first hand the destruction of a continent. He witnessed the closing and evacuation of concentration camps in Poland and other countries. He saw the kids who were now orphans running around playing next to bombed out tanks and jeeps. He saw German soldiers broken by a government who had lied to them.
It has taken me weeks to look through old photos and think about what to write about my Dad and Mom during WWII. I must admit that it was a visceral experience to see photos and think into what it must have been like. I don’t know if I could have gotten through minute by minute wondering if I would be killed. Or scared to see an Army vehicle pull up to your house and a Chaplain and one other officer walk to your door. How did Dad and Mom do it?
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