(2nd in a series of posts on Memorial Day)
Dana Grubb is a lifelong resident of the City of Bethlehem who worked 27 years for the City of Bethlehem in the department of community and economic development, as sealer of weights and measures, housing rehabilitation finance specialist, grants administrator, acting director of community and economic development, and deputy director of community development.
Watch the Lou Reda DVDs, “World War II in HD” and “The Air War in HD” [see link below]. I don’t think any other production can match these in terms of the presentation of reality, tragedy, destruction and humanity lost. The storyline wraps itself around a number of World War II veterans. When it was produced in 2009 only 10% of the 16 million who served in our military during that war were still alive. Nearly all of those featured, among them Andy Rooney of “60 Minutes” fame who flew with the U.S. 8th Air Force over Europe as a writer for “Stars and Stripes,” have passed away since. You’ll find absolutely no glory in war if you view this series.
Gadfly says pull up your Big Boy and Big Girl pants and watch even only the first 10 minutes. The stupefying anguish of the incident recounted minutes 9-10 will never be forgotten.
4 thoughts on “No glory in war (2)”
There is one segment in this DVD that tears me apart. A B-17 returning from a raid over Europe has been shot up so badly that the hydraulics and electrics won’t allow the belly turret gunner to get out of his bubble, nor will the landing gear be able to be lowered. To listen to those voices, to know that someone’s son, brother, husband will be crushed to death when they land and there is absolutely nothing that can be done to prevent it, is heartbreaking and gut wrenching. The fellow who flew with the Tuskegee Airmen summed it up rather well when he comments about each white cross representing someone between the ages of 20 and 40; that the people who cause wars aren’t the ones who fight them; and he’s absolutely right. And, in our lifetime we need only look at Vietnam to see how the youth of our country were wasted because of politics, over 50,000 of them. We shouldn’t need walls and monuments to honor our dead, who absolutely deserve our undying respect, we need to elect statesmen/women who can keep us out of war while maintaining our sovereignty. I’ll be remembering Jack Derrico from my neighborhood tomorrow. He was killed in Vietnam in March 1968, over fifty years ago. The memories I have of the loss his family suffered through are indelibly imprinted on my mind. His father, a World War II U.S. Army veteran who was as patriotic a man as you could know, hated our government once his “Jackie’ was killed, until his dying day. Dana
Abraham Lincoln said it best in his Gettysburg address:
“that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
One of the worst things is how military/political leaders have built a culture that says all veterans are ‘heroes’. A few really are heroes, of course, but the politicians who create war and many military leaders (plus some of the enlisted people) are war criminals, not heroes at all.
As JFK said, ‘Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind. War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.’
Only recently have people begun to think realistically about the multi-faceted COST of participation in combat — in the game of killing other human beings.
Setting aside considerations more commonly regarded as “humane,” this phenomenon has its actual economic effect, although — SOMEHOW — its quite real price (e.g., the budget-item of caring for MORALLY INJURED veterans in our medical facilities) has yet to figure in our spreadsheets when we count the cost of war.
Here are a couple of interesting items that start to introduce the topic of moral injury ~
THE MORAL INJURY PROJECT — Syracuse University
MORAL INJURY is the damage done to one’s conscience or moral compass when that person perpetrates, witnesses, or fails to prevent acts that transgress one’s own moral beliefs, values, or ethical codes of conduct.
Within the context of military service, particularly regarding the experience of war, “moral injury” refers to the lasting emotional, psychological, social, behavioral, and spiritual impacts of actions that violate a service member’s core moral values and behavioral expectations of self or others (Litz et al., 2009). Moral injury almost always pivots with the dimension of time: moral codes evolve alongside identities, and transitions inform perspectives that form new conclusions about old events.
[M]y principal concern is to put before the public an understanding of the specific nature of catastrophic war experiences that not only cause lifelong disabling psychiatric symptoms but can ruin good character.
— Jonathan Shay, Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character (Introduction”)