It—Album 359th Infantry 90th Division—dedicates its 264 picture pages to the men who won the war: The Doughboys of World War II.
It reads in part: “When the blood, sweat and dirt of war are but a remembrance, who will recollect the little things that GI Joe did to make war just ‘a memory?’ We will in the pictures taken by GI Joe himself on the battlefields of war. The pictures illustrate things as they were at the time we helped make history.”
THE picture words in my great uncle’s copy of this album lay dormant; well until now. Major General Herbert Earnest is the first picture then Brigadier General Tully then Colonel Bell and the Doughboys. There are pictures of training camps, submarines, couriers and assault boats as they leave their mother ships.
THE picture words of shifting sands and clutching wire; rubble; twisted metal; country folk; nameless faces and places; gliders; battle wounded; infantry; prisoners; grotesque death; crumbling buildings; front lines; wooden crosses; mortars; desolation; booby traps; Czechs & Yanks; bomb craters; The Brenner Pass, and The Town Hall in Munich.
Two-hundred and sixty-four pictures of warfare that play out in our memory or on our televisions or our smart phones or computer games or coup d’états or politics or next door or in our home. Humankind Album #359: how many more are yet to come?
Sometimes a word jumps off the page or distracts me like a flashing neon sign—Warfare in this case. For this blog I chose the definition of warfare as bad blood since it runs deep in the traditions and memories of mankind and inborn or not, is repeated and causes great damage.
Scholars have written much about the rationale, distress, consequences and true cost to mankind of warfare. But, has it taught us anything?
The ships of old did not only deliver immigrants to our shores, they delivered centuries of prejudice. Yet America’s industrial growth depended upon them so every American came together to create and hold onto a universal freedom and democracy promised by the image of The Statue of Liberty – Liberty Enlightening the World – a gift from the People of France to the People of the United States, October 1886.
You may think that was then and this is now. But look around at our America today—oh we are so in Warfare: black & white & brown; women’s rights; senate & house, outsourcing & job loss; union & non-union; federal vs. state; religious intolerance; immigration anxiety; courts vs. individuals; education; marriage rights; rich or poor; middle class in jeopardy; rage; hatred; fear; greed… I cannot go on!
We Americans are in a revolution of prejudicial thought and are the only ones who individually and collectively can once again show Liberty Enlightening the World by making the most of OUR hard fought freedoms.