Thursday, June 06, 2013

The Shadow of World War II

Today is the anniversary of D-Day when the Allied troops invaded the coast of France. That got me thinking about World War II in general.

I was born long after the war ended but it cast a long shadow. A lot of my childhood in the 1960s was influenced by the war.

First, there is the most obvious connection - my parents met because of the war. If not for they war it is unlikely that they would have gotten within 1,000 miles of each other. Millions of people in my generation can say the same.

It was also assumed that anyone my parent's age had contributed to the war effort. My father enlisted, my mother ran messages at a local plant that produced aircraft. It was a big thing in the early 1960s that President Kennedy had been in the war.

And the war was all over the media. There were TV shows about it. There were movies about it, many of them huge hits. Nick Fury of SHIELD started out as a sergeant fighting Nazis. GI Joe was as likely to be fighting in WWI as to be in the current army. If boys were playing war they were more likely to be fighting the Germans than the Russians.

For my parent's generation, the war was the one big, shared event. Nothing can compare. 9/11 was shocking but it didn't affect people on a long-term basis the way that WWII did.

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