Tuesday, June 6, 2023

All those years ago

Today is the anniversary of D-Day. Specifically, the amphibious assault on Normandy by the Allies in 1944.  For many years now, likely decades, this has been the sum total of 'remember World War II' day.  Pearl Harbor would get its annual nod.  You might the beginning of the war, at least in Europe, mentioned.  And the end.  Often just said in passing, with more emphasis on the end in the  Pacific, focusing on the atomic bombs.  That's been World War II remembrance since at least the 90s. 

When we hit the 10's, it would get more attention.  That is the early 1970s, 1980s, 1990s; the 30th, 40th, 50th anniversaries, then there was more focus.  I think, IIRC, the 1980s had the most pro-WWII, saturated focus.  There weren't many pop culture productions about WWII by that time, but the media had several stories I remember.  Usually, by then, a major focus was on reconciliation and putting the past behind us.  This was especially true for our relationship with Japan.  After all, Japan was starting to kill us economically, and we didn't want bad blood between Japanese companies and American consumers (seen in hindsight, if I must admit).

Over the years it's dropped mostly to the few anniversaries above.  I saw the morning news today mention the anniversary celebration at Normandy.  A brief segment.  I saw it on a couple tickers.  I didn't see any major national newspapers, but they might not be published online yet.  Of course I'm sure we all remember the WaPo's article a year or two ago, reminding us not to bless those veterans but damn them as the racists that they were.  Or the Twitter illustration a couple years ago of the beach landings with the caption 'an army of white supremacists landing to fight an army of white supremacists.'  The hatred of our country and civilization now generations deep in some quarters. 

Such is history.  Empires come and empires go.  From the Christian perspective, though man is made in the image of God, sin tends to be the at-rest position in the world.  Sin is easier.  Virtue is tough.  After all, when was the last time you heard someone say 'You know, all my life I wanted to be a lazy couch potato, but I couldn't overcome the temptation to eat right and exercise.'  So it is with nations and empires and civilizations.  The light of Christian Witness and the subsequent rise in the Democratic era were the exception, not the rule, to the story of humanity.  And since we eventually decided to take away the rock upon which our civilization was built, and replace it with sand, we can probably guess what will happen next. 

That's why golden ages are typically followed by dark ages.  But have hope.  Eventually the kernels of what was forgotten will be remembered, and from the ensuing dark age coming our way, another golden age will emerge.  That's one of the benefits of the Jewish-Christian tradition:  History has a purpose and we should never forget.  Even if we do for a season.  There will be a time when people remember again, and then those who gave their all will not have died in vain. 

As a bonus, here is a nice piece written by Francis Maier at The Catholic Thing.  Worth the read. 

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