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?
This blog title: “…Denial of Freedom” popped out at me in an Agatha Christie thriller set in World War II entitled: “N or M?” This happens to me from time-to-time: words that bend forward from a page in a book. What I’ve discovered is these words matter to me and I like sharing them with others. So, here we are—Agatha’s words and me.
The irony of this particular phrase is that the meaning never changes. We experience the denial of freedom in the everydayness of our lives. We war with families; neighborhoods; cities; states; countries; politically and religiously. We unknowingly deny some freedoms in order to save others we love (or perhaps need?). I find this situation to be a true oxymoron: like “wise fool” or “legal murder.”
Yet, I still love this conundrum (mystery) of the human condition. For example, am I, even in this moment, effortlessly surrendering a freedom? I can’t answer my own question until later, when I…