Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Re: Person of The Week, Bert Brady. WWII

It was more misty than foggy, first thing this morning, but still turned into a lovely sunny day.

When Ray arrived, later, we got a few things done. The Mirage is still at Jim's getting the clearance and side lights worked on, so we were limited to what we could do. I did drive down there to get the pedestal pole for the table, so that Ray could paint it the same color as the bases. We got the top drawer section off the little plastic chest unit, and smeared Contact Cement on the cabinet top that we had made, and the Formica for it. While we were waiting for that to dry, (it has to be dry before you put both glued parts together), we fixed a pot lid holder in my kitchen and a few little things like that. Once the contact cement was dry, we carefully lined up the two parts, stuck them together, and weighted it down until tomorrow.

As Ray was helping someone else earlier this morning, I had time to read some emails. One email was this video about Bert Brady, who goes to D/FW airport nearly every morning to greet the returning troops.
Here, away from it all, it is so easy to forget that there is a war going on, and that we have troops dying in battle right now. It is wonderful that some folks go nearly every morning to airports to welcome those who are returning, but there must be much more we can do for the troops?

This made me think of my own experiences of WWII:
During WWII in London, I was in the midst of the bombings and heard the planes going over dropping their doodle-bugs, and then the explosions. I was woken up regularly, in the middle of the night by the sirens and rushed, first to under the stairs, but later we had a shelter. I would go to school each morning wondering which of my friends had got killed in the night. Our house didn't get a direct hit, but I did get hurt from one that landed close by, when our ceiling fell down on me from the vibration. I never saw a banana as there was food, and other rationing, for many years.
Every beach had barbed wire strung across it, and big cement places that housed guns to fire at any ships, or subs that tried to land on Britain.
The one, and only day, I played hookey from school with my girlfriend, happened to be the day that all the planes were flying over us, going south for DDay, 6th. June,1944. We were used to seeing fleets of planes, but not this many, so we didn't really think much of it, at the time.

When VJ Day (Victory Over Japan) came, I really didn't know what that was, all I knew was wartime. But I put streamers on my bike handlebars, as the other kids did, and rode up and down our street. I went on a quick visit to some relatives on a farm, and they had Italian prisoners of war working for them who were all so nice and polite.

Even when VE Day (Victory Over Europe) came, things didn't change much, except there were no more sirens or bombings. Everything was still rationed and I didn't fully understand what "Peace" was, for several years. Not until I moved to Paris to spend some time with my father who was working there. The war, and German Occupation was still very fresh in the Parisian and Parisienne's memories. They still spoke of the stories of the brutality of the Nazis. There were still empty spaces, and rubble between buildings, just as London had. The rebuilding process took a long time for all the European countries that were impacted by the war.

Psychologically, it took a lot longer. I was in Sweden and Switzerland, two neutral countries, and their economy was thriving, as usual. The Italians, Danes, and Dutch seemed to have got over it very well when I was there. But the war was a little bit different for the Italians than Occupied France, even though Italy was occupied too, as they were on the other side.
Then there was The Cold War:
We all knew that it was going on, so there was still a possibility of another war.

Today, now we have had more wars since WWII, which was supposed to be the "War To End All Wars". Will it ever end?
So, I am grateful to all those who fought for our freedom, as I have first hand civilian knowledge of war.
"If we don't want to take care of our Vets, we should stop making them".

History lesson over for today.


JB said...

Great Blog Penny, I think your last quote says it all.

Gypsy said...

I second JB's comment on your last quote. Thank you for your memories and first-hand experience of war. Those of us in North America can never imagine what it would be like as a child to hear bombs drop and wonder who of their friends died in the night. But it happens to children every night, somewhere in the world, on all sides of a conflict. And that is the saddest part of it all.