Today we celebrate along with Europe, the enormous effort put forth by the allied expeditionary forces to liberate Europe from the hands of an evil tyrant.
Most teen-agers today and a lot of young adults have no idea of that historic event that literally shaped our world we know today. They have no more concept of D-Day then they do of the “Forgotten War,” the war with North Korea and the communist Chinese government. For these events, like so many other events that help shape our nation, are no longer taught in school. For that is the past and we must shape the future, so we must eliminate all that is bad, like statues and monuments and deface or desecrate those sites dedicated to the brave men and women who kept the “Torch of Freedom” burning.
I was almost 7 years old when the war finally came to an end in August of 1945. As a child I could not see the magnitude of what had taken place and why. For the rationing of food and materials had no real effect on my life, I just played “Army” with Bobby Bullock who lived across the street. But I remember the “drives” to collect old pots and pans and even the tin soldiers that my older brother and I played with.
I had two uncles who served in the Navy, one down in the Panama Zone and eventually in the Pacific war theater. The other uncle served in the Atlantic and was involved with “Operation Torch” the invasion of North Africa. My father who tried twice to enlist, was turned away by the war department, for he was working at the time in the Fall River Shipyard in Massachusetts. My father, like so many other men and women at the time felt somewhat left out of “The World at War,” for they were still on the homefront. But they, along with the Merchant Marine, kept the war effort going, and many, many years later were finally recognized for their efforts.
My father’s generation came home after four years of carnage and tried to rebuild their lives. For some, that challenge was never met; because of the events to which they had seen at a very early age. For others it took years to come to grips with nightmares and the addiction to morphine or booze.
Nobody walked away from the psychological trauma that they had experienced during those years and simply came home and went about the business of living, as if nothing ever happened.
And that is the terrible price that my father’s generation paid, for the cost of freedom we all enjoy today.
—Jim Garvey lives in Kalispell