By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Oh, the horrors of being alive in 2024 as D-Day is now a fast fading memory
PERSPECTIVE
d day
American soldiers approaching Omaha Beach on the morning of June 6, 1944.

Having a bad day?

Getting tired of hearing about Trump and Biden?

The price of a Big Mac tick you off?

Too hot for you?

Lucky you.

Really.

A lot of people would gladly trade places with you.

And that in includes a lot of people over the years that died so you could bellyache.

One of them was a Californian.

Army Private Herman Addleson was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division.

Rest assured when one second ticked past midnight 80 years ago, the private wasn’t too sure he’d be alive in 24 hours.

He wasn’t.

Addleson was one of 2,501 Americans among the 4,424 Allied deaths on June 6, 1944.

The private died far from California on the beaches of Normandy, France.

He did not survive D-Day, the largest amphibious assault in history.

It was the beginning of the end of Hitler’s ironclad grip on an entire continent secured with the help of Mussolini.

By the time the war that the Axis Powers started in their blood thirsty drive for world domination, between 70 million and 85 million people were dead.

That’s a couple million more than today’s combined population of California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming, Hawaii, and Alaska.

Of those, 21 million to 25.5 million were soldiers in the battle arena.

An estimated 29 million to 30.5 million civilians were killed in military action or crimes against humanity, which is a nice way of saying they were killed for no other reason than being Jewish.

Famine and disease spread by war conditions killed another 19 million to 24 million civilians.

When news of the invasion reached the general United States population including college campuses, there were no protest encampments set up.

There is no comparison between World War II and today, right?

The lines weren’t blurred.

But then again the more things change the more they have remained the same.

Forcing other nations — geographic and as defined by people — to kowtow to your view of the world by deadly means is still the same today as it was in 1944, 1917, or 1550.

We can afford to have a disconnect to what is going on in the Ukraine or Gaza because of the sacrifices men and women we never met made 80 years ago.

At the same time we are free to get in everybody’s face about what is unfolding half way around the world because of the same men and women.

The fact many of us take what we have for granted shouldn’t surprise us.

You have the luxury of taking a lot of things for granted when there are others willing to wear a military uniform to guard and protect the nation you call home.

In doing so you lose sight of what matters and learn to value the worthless.

As the world heads towards a point in the next few years where no one who served in combat in World War II will still be alive, the die will be cast for World War III.

It will have a lot to do with no one being left alive who lived through the hell that was World War II.

But it likely can also be blamed on the modern-day malady of the need to rewrite history so it doesn’t offend anybody’s sensibilities.

Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.

And once you erase history or replace it with “relevancy classes” that conform to the social media cocoon that those with no connection to the past weave, the stage is set.

Men like the late Adolph Kuhn who was serving in the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 6, 1941 dedicated their later years long after returning from war and helping to build the American economy and raise families to make sure people never forget that fateful day and what followed.

The longtime Manteca resident who died in 2018 wrote books and spoke to classes.

He was driven by a need to instill in people generations removed from World War II to never forget.

And it wasn’t to never forget the travesty that led to the slaughter of upwards of 80 million people so one day their deaths can be avenged. That seems to be reason enough for many to go to war.

Instead, it was for America to never forget to be vigilant and on guard.

Kuhn was convinced if we forget Pearl Harbor, D-Day, and the overall travesty that World War II was, we would be allowing the seeds to take hold.

As such the stage would be set to allow an encore of the time when the theaters of war encompassed Europe, Asia, the South Pacific, and North Africa.

We deny the truth that soldiers are the ones that abhor war the most.

They understand the price that they may be called upon to pay along with their fellow soldiers.

We dismantle the military and ignore history at own peril.

It’s because  if we don’t buy into extremism, we buy into the elusive dream that somehow we are part of a generation that will be able to do what no other generation in the history of the world has been able to do.

The dream? World peace attained without the need of having a strong military that’s ready to act when basic freedoms are threatened.

Men like Kuhn strove to make that point without having animosity for former enemies.

It was so what American soldiers like Addleson secured by paying the ultimate price on a bloody beach, a South Pacific Island, or in the European countryside wasn’t squandered.

D-Day — just like war in itself — was hell.

And it was fought so people wouldn’t have to live in an earthly hell under the thumbs of fanatical men.

Yet, here we are today, acting as if the world has gone to hell while we scroll our smartphones, binge watch Netflix, drive $60,000 cars, and bellyache about inconsequential things.

 

 

This column is the opinion of editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Bulletin or 209 Multimedia. He can be reached at dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com