Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Remembering or Politicizing

The NYT has a pretty moving piece that explains why Eisenhower did not go to Normandy in 1954.  He was not big on celebrating war's big events, as he was responsible for sending thousands of men to their deaths.  So, I understand this stance quite well.  However, I also understand why politicians, including President Obama, will go to Normandy next month to participate in the events relating to the 70th anniversary of that Day of Days. 

Is it just grandstanding that Ike was too good for?  Maybe.  But besides the blood on Ike's hands, a key difference is that no one really needed a big event in 1954 to remember the big day ten years earlier.  Now?  Most of those who fought that day and lived to see the end of the war are now gone.  As documented in previous posts, I am a big fan of Band of Brothers for many reasons.  One key reason is that it gave us a group of men who we could admire and tie the big story to a series of smaller stories.  Those men that we met via that TV series are mostly gone now too.  Dick Winters and Bill Guarnere were the two most memorable characters in the series, and, as it turns out, two of the most influential and visible members of Easy Company ever since the war.  And both are gone along with most of Easy Company. 

So, perhaps it might appear like politics to grandstand at an event like this, but with these politicians come their spotlights.  And a 70th anniversary is not a bad time to bring these spotlights to such a key moment in history paid for with the blood of Americans, Canadians, Brits, Poles, French, and others, not to mention the Russians who bore most of the heavy lifting of defeating Nazi Germany. 

Easy Company memorial near Bastogne/Foy (I have no Normandy pics)

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