15 July 2007

Ken Burns and the pulse of America

Has anyone else noticed an increase of information about WWII recently? I don't know whether it is just because I'm listening/looking for it, but I've been seeing and hearing a lot of interesting reflections lately.
Personally, my interest was piqued reading about Ken Burns' new documentary, The War. I had read that it was in the works and about the controversy about the lack of info included in the piece about Latino involvement in the war. Then a couple of weeks ago, I saw a preview after Masterpiece Theater's showing of Foyle's War, with one of my English celebrity boyfriends, Michael Kitchen. As much as I am enthralled by Michael Kitchen's portrayal of imagined WWII era events, I'm more excited to see The War. It looks like it will be a great program.
Today, I heard a really interesting program from a local NPR program featuring the oral histories of WWII vets in the Quad Cities area. Today I caught the program at an interview by an army nurse. It was just fascinating. I didn't want it to end, but the secondary interview was a guy responsible for transmitting the news that the Ludendorff Bridge was still intact to headquarters. Amazing stuff.
It reminded me about a member of my congregation, Smitty, who passed away a couple of years ago. In the War, he had been under Patton and drove a half-track tank. At some point, his unit came into a city that the Germans had abandoned and Smitty found an abandoned, broken German motorcycle which he fixed up. He had a great time zipping around on it until his commander asked to see him. The commander told him that he was not to drive the motorcycle anymore and that it was to be delivered to him by the next morning. Smitty knew that the commander just wanted the bike to be able to drive himself, but he also knew that he couldn't disobey the order.
So when the commander woke up the next morning, he found a German motorcycle outside his door. There was a problem with it though. It had been run over by a half-track.
Anyway, I'm glad Ken Burns is doing his documentary and glad that others are capturing these stories and glad that it is moving to the front of consciousness. If not the nations' consciousness, then at least mine. These are important stories. And they need to be told.

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