At that time, wars were not my favorite part of studying history but I did see they form many mile markers in the course of world events. It's probably been so since an early cave-man clan got on the outs with another bunch and they beat each outer with the shinbones of mammoths and stabbed with sharpened sticks. Humanity is a contrary and contentious bunch. We've always fought but our weapons get increasingly long-range and deadly, weapons of mass destruction if you will. Yet civilians have always suffered as much or more than the combatants, at least in the war zones.
We are rapidly losing the veterans of that war for most of them are in their nineties now. The last of the Navajo code talkers passed away this last week and I've read of several other World War II vets' passing in recent days. Called the "last great generation," the folks of that era were very different. from us now True, vets were cheered and honored, at least to some extent, when they came home but they struggled, too. At that time we did not know about PTSD or traumatic brain injuries--and I am sure there were some in soldiers who were near bombs landing and other concussive violence. Many were also subjected to poison gasses--less than in WW I but there still were some used. There were horrible wounds, both physical and mental/emotional that marked many lives.
On the home front, almost everything was rationed, speed limits were set at thirty MPH to conserve fuel and long trips or vacations were not encouraged. Many women went to work in industry for the first time and the image of Rosie the Riveter came to be. And like they say, how can you get them back on the farm after they've seen Paree? There was no going back. Thousands of troops had seen the world or strange new parts of it at least for them and women were not about to go back and forego the freedoms and independence they had gained with their war-related jobs. So it is valid to focus on wars as major implements of social change and watershed points in the course of a nation's or even humanities journey.
Like the treaties that ended WW I set the stage for World War II, so those agreements left room for future conflicts right up to this day. Someone is always the 'winner' and those who are not feel they got the short end of the stick and eventually want to claim their own back. I'm reminded of that sixties era protest song: when will they every learn? It seems the answer is never, at least not until we become a great deal more spiritually advanced, which is sad.
Most of the worlds' main religions preach peace and brotherhood among all mankind but that seems to break down when we are dealing with those who are a different race, color, creed or agenda than we are. And that makes me sad. So, D-Day seventy years on and we still have not really learned or changed or progressed. Still, I appreciate the well-meant sacrifices of those who died that day and honor their memories just as I do the veterans of all our wars. If the leaders and politicians had to go out do the fighting, there might be fewer deaths and less mayhem. It is too easy to say, "Let's you and him fight."