As one of those old-timers, I really enjoyed Barbara Seaborns recent column, "Dont know much about history." A couple of comments:
I dont think were suffering from selective memory so much as the fact that todays generation(s) dont have the quality memories that we have! While no war is a popular war, we did have the advantage in World War II of being united (with a few exceptions) in a war against two thoroughly despicable opponents.
Also, nearly everyone had some connection with World War II, and the few voices of dissent werent given much of a platform - the news media, for the most part, being on our side in those days!
Just a small correction regarding the Bridge at Remagen. The Allies did not blow up the bridge. Rather, they fought hard to keep the Germans from destroying it for nine or 10 days while our engineers were throwing pontoon bridges across the Rhine. The Germans had planned to blow it up, but elements of the American 9th Armored Division managed to get across and establish a bridgehead March 7, 1945. The 2nd Battalion of the 47th Regiment of the 9th Infantry Division, after a nine-hour forced march, crossed the bridge in the early hours of March 8 under heavy German artillery fire. The divisions 39th and 60th Regiments also crossed early on, to be followed by other divisions.
Despite German efforts to destroy it by air attacks and artillery, the bridge held until April 18 when it fell into the Rhine with some 400 men still on it.
I happen to have a short history of the 9th Infantry Division, from which these facts were taken, because I joined the 47th Regiment later in 1945.
One other observation. News from the front lines during World War II didnt come directly to the dinner table. There were no embedded reporters giving us accounts on an hourly basis, including the last-minute casualty reports.
For motion pictures you had to wait a week or two for them to appear in the newsreels at your neighborhood theatre. Ernie Pyles essays were right on but didnt come under the heading of being up-to-the-minute news. For security reasons, he and other reporters were not allowed to name units and their locations, as was done everyday in the Iraq fracas.
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