bradygirl_12: (jfk (flag))
Today is the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Equated with JFK's assassination and 9/11, December 7th was a psychic shock for the country. Despite knowing in the backs of their minds that they would be dragged into the war, Americans had hoped against hope to be spared getting involved. After taking part in the War To End All Wars a generation before, they wanted nothing to do with Europe's latest conflagration. Yet this new war was not just in Europe but in the South Pacific, too. Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Fascist Italy were all teamed up to conquer the world.

Winston Churchill knew that it was the turning point of the war. FDR had invented Lend-Lease to help Great Britain survive and to aid the U.S.S.R. Yet even Roosevelt could not lead a people that wanted to stay out of the war until Pearl Harbor.

The Japanese were supposed to meet with Secretary of State Cordell Hull on December 7th and deliver their Government's ultimatum, but delays in transcribing meant that they met with Hull after the attack. The image enraged America: the ambassadors from Japan supposedly meeting to talk peace while the Japanese military attacked Pearl Harbor on a quiet Sunday morning.

Hitler did FDR a favor. He declared war on the U.S. soon after FDR's declaration of war on Japan. Americans would have resisted a Europe First strategy without that German declaration.

The rallying cry throughout the war would be, "Remember Pearl Harbor!" A pity more people don't remember the anniversary.

American Movie Classics are showing World War II movies all day long and the 1970 film, Tora! Tora! Tora! about the attack on Pearl Harbor at 8:00 EST tonight.

Finally, here's a video of JFK visiting the Arizona Memorial in 1963. The Memorial was completed in 1962 and he was the first U.S. President to visit it. All Presidents have followed his lead.


bradygirl_12: (captain america sunburst)
Recently I've been researching my father's Korean War experiences as part of a project to get a grave marker for him, and even though he did tell us some hair-raising stories before he died (when my sister and I were adults), I'm finding out more things that make me sad but very proud of my father's service. He was 17 when he joined the U.S. Army in February of 1952 and was shipped over to Korea in early 1953. He took part in battles such as Old Baldy and Pork Chop Hill (the 1959 movie of the same name starring Gregory Peck is exemplary), and he was a Purple Heart survivor. He was able to watch M*A*S*H* and point out what was realistic and what wasn't, having spent time in a unit as a patient. He became the youngest First Sergeant in the Korean theater of operations and later volunteered for jump school to become a paratrooper.

My father was of that World War II/Korean War generation who came back from the war, returned to civilian life and started a family while quietly dealing with his PTSD (known then as battle fatigue). I understand him better now after my research and wish that he could have been spared the nightmares and survivor's guilt, but that's the world we live in, unfortunately.

The Korean War is often referred to as The Forgotten War, which angers me no end. A war and its veterans should NEVER be forgotten and shunted aside. The war began on June 25, 1950, five years after the end of World War II, and a lot of the veterans called back up were resentful of having to run the gauntlet again after surviving World War II. Stories like the case of Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox were examples, as once again a considerable chunk of his baseball prime years were lost to service (he was a jet ace during the Korean War and was John Glenn's wingman). Others had begun to build lives after the last war and were interrupted once again for a dirty little war that sorely tried skills, patience and faith. Talking with some of the people helping me with the grave marker, I discovered that military people considered Korea an unusually grim and horrific war, even as wars go.

During this weekend of vacation and barbecues and fun, please take a moment to reflect and thank those who came before us to fight our country's wars and who paid a great price for it.

Thank you.
bradygirl_12: (steve--diana (adoring looks))
The World War II episodes of the classic Wonder Woman series is starting their cycle again on ME TV tonight at 8:00 EST. I'm not a big fan of when the series updated itself to the then-contemporary 1970s, as I thought that a lot of what made Diana special was lost, and she became a generic agent. The Pilot and first 13 episodes did a lot of things right, and each one is a little gem. :)

Tonight, Wonder Woman goes up against Baroness Von Gunther!
bradygirl_12: (jfk (flag))
Today is the 74th anniversary of December 7, 1941, the day that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. I noticed that AMC had World War II movies on all day.

World War II is becoming very much like World War I and the Civil War: black-and-white photographs of a time long ago, with fewer and fewer people around to possess actual memories of the events. Fortunately, despite the usual historical amnesia of my fellow Americans, some people do remember important events like this one.

It's not that hard to understand the shock of the people alive on that date of infamy. If you were around on November 22, 1963, you understand. If you were around on September 11, 2001, you understand.

Many Americans in 1941 knew in the backs of their minds that war was coming. Some pretended it would never come. Others wanted it because they felt that if the Nazis won in Europe and knocked off Great Britain, we were next. Most of the attention was on Europe, so the attack on Pearl Harbor was probably even more of a shock. Many Americans didn't even know where Pearl Harbor was. It was a U.S. Navy base, with the Army stationed at nearby Hickam Field, and unless you were in the military or knew someone who was and had been stationed there, why would you know about it? But on December 7, 1941, all of America found out.

The great Japanese Admiral Isokoru Yamamoto opposed war with the United States. He had studied at Harvard in 1919-1921 and served as a naval attache in Washington for two postings, traveling the country and learning about Americans. He had seen the industrial capacity of the United States at first-hand and knew that a long war with the U.S would be a disaster.

He did plan the attack on Pearl Harbor as ordered, but upon learning that the diplomatic notification to the Americans had been delivered late, casting the attack in the light of a "sneak attack", he was famously quoted as saying, "I fear all we have done today is to awaken a great, sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve." He predicted that he could "run wild" for six months to a year, but could offer no guarantees for the years after that. He was extremely prophetic.

The loss of life and ships was a psychic blow. The particular horror of what happened to the U.S.S. Arizona is commemorated today with the famous memorial in the harbor. Fortunately, the aircraft carriers were not in port that day, and would prove invaluable in battles like the Coral Sea and Midway.

It was a long time ago, but the events of 1941 and the subsequent years formed history (the Cold War and our current era) and led to the Korean and Vietnam Wars. It's good to remember the sacrifices.
bradygirl_12: (steve--bucky (world war ii sepia))
Today is the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge. It was Hitler's last gasp as German troops pushed the Allies back in the Ardennes, creating a 'bulge' in the Allied lines. This battle was the largest land battle that the U.S. Army would ever fight. It was also the worst winter in living memory. Apparently the worst weather waited until World War II to appear in Europe, as a vicious storm had wrecked supply ships and lines after D-Day in June.

American troops were looking forward to being rotated home for Christmas and others were hoping to drive on to Berlin without much resistance. The Battle of the Bulge caught them unawares, but by the end of January, the German resistance had been broken and the race was on for Berlin between the Allies and the Soviet Union.

Studies done of the battle noted that when the American soldiers were cut off from their units and commanders, they excelled in improvising and lower-ranked soldiers stepping up to take command, a characteristic of 'Yankees' but outstanding in this chaotic battle which covered hundreds of miles and snow-laden fields that could hide the fallen. Germans were the better all-around soldiers but the Americans were better at deviating from plans if necessary and not letting rank deter them from successfully completing a mission and doing it with as few lives lost as possible.

This characteristic was shown in the 1965 movie, The Battle Of The Bulge, along with the interesting side story of Germans infiltrating American lines, posing as American soldiers and creating confusion by switching signs and directing troops the wrong way, etc. They also covered the Malmedy massacre. The S.S. murdered dozens of American P.O.W.s and stiffened resistance along the American lines once word got out.

There was also an interesting scene as one character, a Nazi panzer commander, showed his superior a chocolate cake taken from a captured American prisoner. He said that the Americans had no concept of being conquered, and they had the fuel to ferry chocolate cakes across the Atlantic while the Germans scrounged for fuel.

Back home, Americans agonized over the fate of their loved ones as they followed the battle in the newspapers and on the radio. The homefront in the U.S. was a safe place from bombs but not from worry and fear.

The Battle of the Bulge

December 16, 1944--January 25, 1945
bradygirl_12: (captain america sunburst)
Seventy-three years ago on a peaceful Sunday morning, while Americans went to church and read the Sunday paper and enjoyed Sunday dinner, had already started their holiday preparations, everything changed. Remember Pearl Harbor and all the lives lost that day: sailors (all the battleships, and especially the Arizona), soldiers, pilots, civilians. Remember all the souls lost in all of World War II, on every front, everywhere.

There are not many veterans left who remember that day. Not many civilians who were adults then, either. Most of those still around were either babies or children, some old enough to know something important had happened. Everyone became part of the war effort at home and overseas. There was rationing, paper and scrap drives, factories running 24/7, and war bond drives. The War was everywhere, and sometimes took the form of telegrams or grim-faced military men coming to tell widows and other loved ones sad news.

1941 was the last Christmas some families would all be together.

REMEMBER

DECEMBER 7, 1941

D-Day

Jun. 6th, 2014 09:58 am
bradygirl_12: (captain america sunburst)
Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the invasion of Normandy by the Allies against Nazi Germany in World War II. It came at a horrific cost but the people there still remember, and we should, too. Many Americans, British, Canadian and French soldiers lost their lives that day or were haunted forever by what happened.

World War II is edging closer to a Civil War status. The photos and films are usually sepia-tinted and the survivors are dwindling at a rapid rate every day. By the time the 80th anniversary rolls around, there won't be many veterans left. Someday we'll hear the story in the news of the last World War II veteran passing away.
bradygirl_12: (Snow (Trees))
Today is the 69th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Bulge in World War II. It was the Third Reich's last gasp and Panzer units attacked and surrounded embattled towns like Bastogne and caused the Allied lines to be pushed back. The soldiers were thinking about Christmas and were mentally unprepared for the brutal struggle ahead.

Europeans said it was one of the worst winters in memory, and many soldiers froze to death as well as were killed in action. Allied planes were grounded due to bad weather and it was the largest land battle that American soldiers would ever be involved in. During the battle (which lasted well into January), the infamous Malmedy Massacre took place, with the S.S. killing dozens of American POWs. There was spy business going on as well, as trained Germans pretended to be Americans and misdirected American troops and switched signs, etc. It was a distressing time for people, hoping for the end of the war as they tried to celebrate the holidays back home, and the titanic struggle exploded just nine days before Christmas.

By the time the Allies pushed the Nazis back, many lives had been lost, but Germany was finally broken. They would never again put up a fight on the scale of the Battle of the Bulge, and the war would be over in Europe in May of 1945.

It was said that many of the American soldiers who were replacements and pretty green acquitted themselves well in this battle, and that when cut off from their units, they took the initiative without orders from superiors. The Germans were the better soldiers but the Americans were better at independent action when necessary.

Please remember the veterans of World War II and all veterans of all wars. Thank you.
bradygirl_12: (captain america sunburst)
Good afternoon, everyone!

Today is the 72nd anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Please remember all the World War II veterans (and all veterans of all wars) today for a moment.

Thank you.

Gettysburg

Jun. 30th, 2013 11:51 am
bradygirl_12: (jfk (flag))
Tomorrow is the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War. It was the turning point for the war as Robert E. Lee gambled and lost, sounding the death knell for the Confederacy though the war itself wouldn't end until April of 1865.

I've stood on Little Round Top where Joshua Chamberlain and his Maine soldiers defended and held a key point against the Rebels against incredible odds. The site echoes the ghosts of the battle, and it was a hot day in July and they were wearing those wool uniforms (or if they were wearing lighter material, I'm sure it still itched!). And don't let anyone tell you a place is just a place and means nothing. You can feel what happened there, even as the sun shines and the birds sing. Pickett's Charge was the last gasp and the South never truly recovered.

Gettysburg itself had many dead (men and horses) to bury in the withering heat of July. People wore handkerchiefs over their faces as they went about their grim business.

And, finally, in November of that year, President Abraham Lincoln gave his famous address at the cemetery.

It's a shame there isn't more acknowledgment of these events. There is a re-enactment going on in Gettysburg but people don't know or talk much about the seminal event in American history anymore: the Civil War itself. When the anniversaries were 100 years old, not 150, people cared. I remember reading an old Peanuts book from the early '60s and the kids went around in kepi hats and played Civil War soldiers as well as cowboys and Indians. Shows like The Twilight Zone featured several Civil War episodes. Lincoln, always popular in the American mind, was even more written and talked about during the Civil War Centennial.

Why should we care about a war long gone? Because it changed everything in this country and its effects are still being felt today.

In 1913, the survivors of Gettysburg got together for a reunion. Old men by then, the old silent films show them camping on the battlefield, Union and Confederate alike. Funny how wars like World War II and Korea are now getting as old and distant as the Civil War, trapped in their black-and-white images and the veterans are either old or dead.

Wars are terrible, but they are part of history and move events. It doesn't hurt to be more cognizant of history beyond last week.
bradygirl_12: (captain america sunburst)
Today is the 71st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which brought the U.S. into World War II. Please remember the World War II veterans and also veterans of other wars, particularly the Korean War. It breaks my heart that the veterans of that war are constantly overlooked and ignored. My father served on the front lines in Korea and it affected him all the rest of his life. Please just take the time today to acknowledge the sacrifices of all veterans.

It was definitely a psychic shock to Americans on December 7th. Despite Europe and Asia at war, the U.S. was still out of it except for helping the British when they could with Lend-Lease and American volunteers flying in the British Air Force or ferrying desperately-needed supplies to England, and later, Russia. Despite knowing they could be at war it was still a shock to wake up on a beautiful Sunday morning in Hawaii with bombs raining down on your head. The men of the U.S.S. Arizona never had a chance.

Thank you for your remembrance today.

Anniversary

Dec. 6th, 2011 02:58 pm
bradygirl_12: (captain america sunburst)







Tomorrow

Is the

70th

Anniversary

of

December 7, 1941


Everything changed.
bradygirl_12: (captain america sunburst)
On this date, 11/11/11, please remember the veterans of all wars. They really do make sacrifices for us all. Thank you.

Veterans living today:

World War I (not sure how many are left, but they certainly sacrificed)

World War II

The Korean War (NOT 'just' a conflict, but a full-fledged war)

The Vietnam War

The First Gulf War

Our current wars
bradygirl_12: (captain america sunburst)
December 7, 1941


Remember




It was the day everything changed.

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