Admitting my ignorance

I have always been a terrible history student. I could argue this was due to the dryness of the subject as taught in the public schools I attended. There may be some truth to that but also I think I’m just not very interested maybe? Also, I think I’m unable to translate names and dates and events, etc., into, well, “pictures”. I mean pictures in my head, not some Hollywood guy’s vision (not that there aren’t some good WWII movies).

I had NPR on all day and talk shows were almost exclusively discussing D-Day. And wow! Now, you MAGA guys (I know you’re out there). This was not a whole bunch of “communist radio” crapola. In particular, there were a lot of first-hand accounts from soldiers who stormed the beaches, or stories people heard from long-gone relatives who stormed the beaches. Plus a couple really interesting interviews with a historian who wrote a comprehensive book, “When the Sea Came Alive”. It all sounded like a pretty balanced account of an important piece of history but then my MAGA radar is disabled via my DNA. (I did not learn that from my Ancestry DNA results.)

Prior to listening to this coverage, I had NO CLUE what D-Day was all about except that it liberated Europe. In other words, I knew the short story. For the first time I was able to visualize the massive undertaking this invasion was and how many ships, planes, and whatever were involved. When the sea came alive.

I don’t remember my dad saying a whole lot about the war. That wasn’t because of PTSD because he served in the American southwest teaching other people how to fly. He was slated to get sent to the South Pacific but we dropped the bomb and that was canceled. Most of what I know about his service was from The Commander talking about her train journey out there from Detroit to marry him. (I – first of two children – wasn’t born for another 11 years.)

The Gumper (my beloved father-in-law) would often talk about his service, which was master mechanic on the aircraft carrier Hornet (the second Hornet) in the South Pacific. He saw action but he always said the storms were worse than the action. There were certain things he would sometimes get a little teary-eyed about but I’ll leave those memories with him.

I don’t feel “qualified” to get eloquent about any of this. I grew up with all the freedoms white* people of my age in this country had and I do credit all of those brave (or more likely scared to death) folks for that. Not to mention all the people who lost their lives defending “us” from Nazi dictatorships, et al.

Which brings me to conclude with NOW. We have a presidential candidate who has openly stated he would like to be a dictator “for a day”. For a day? Really? MAGA might say, “Oh that’s just Trump talking”. Sorry but that is *dangerous* talk from anyone. I did not enjoy Trump’s first term and I do NOT want him to get a second term. I believe the world is in dangerous political territory these days. We need a better “leader of the free world”. Trump does NOT care about anyone but himself. DO NOT VOTE FOR HIM!

Water lily photo credit to my country mouse.

*I do believe in the idea of “white privilege” and I have benefited from that (except for the part that I am female) unlike lots of others. Sorry MAGA. Go take a long hike to Antarctica or somewhere.

2 Responses to “Admitting my ignorance”

  1. Margaret Says:

    As a French teacher, I learned quite a bit about D-Day or Jour-J to share with students as well as having them watch a few documentaries about it. I’ve also been to the American (and British) cemeteries in Normandy–a sobering experience. The British landed in a much better place and didn’t lose anywhere near as many. 🙁

  2. Pam J. Says:

    That was interesting. I would have thought you were too young to have a dad in WWII. I too believe in white privilege but it’s a subtle point that doesn’t sit well with a lot of people so I don’t usually utter the phrase out loud. I minored in history in college and married a history major (who taught briefly) so history is in my brain a lot. But usually very specific periods of history. For the last few years, I’ve been reading a lot about Reconstruction. The Civil War isn’t what I’m interested in but the aftermath of the war. I think my interest got triggered because of the 2017 Charlottesville VA Unite the Right march (and killing of counter-protestor Heather Heyer). As a child of the 50s I vaguely remember segregation and I was in high school when the civil rights marches started in earnest. I tried to skip school to go to the Capitol to watch the voting on one of the early Civil Rights Acts (got caught trying to skip school! got a slap on the wrist by the Vice Principal and had to miss the vote. Damn!).
    I listen to NPR much of the day too (and all night long — it’s odd but I sleep with the radio on and an earbud in one ear so as to not disturb sleeping husband). I hear all kinds of interesting news in the middle of the night. I love NPR and fear the orange man will take it away when he returns to DC. That’s not an “if” he returns; it’s a “when” he returns. I think only death will keep him out of my city.

Leave a Reply