Tuesday, September 01, 2009

1 September 1939

My ability to think complex thoughts is still recovering from the holiday, but I feel the need to mark this day somehow.

The chance circumstance of being a latecomer to my family means that, for me, the Second World War was an event of my parents' generation rather than my grandparents', unlike nearly all the other people I know under 40.

Their efforts in that conflict stretched from western Europe to Burma, on land, sea and air. Something of which I have always been intensely aware -- and proud. I am now -- by family and naturalisation -- connected with the other side of that story, which began seventy years ago today.

Which seems to make my feelings both more complex and, curiously, far simpler.

Seventy years. An eternity or a blink of an eye, depending on your perspective.

And while the day has been full of symbolism, the gesture that I've thought of most is separated from us now by nearly four decades.

Here's to a Europe (almost) without borders and (almost completely) at peace.

For all your many frustrations, you've come a long way.

Let's not forget that.

1 comment:

Dale said...

Thanks for posting this before I got to my own germ of an idea about it -- er, the start of WWII, not your family connection with it, but it comes to the same on some important level.

I appreciate the perspective and the reminder of Brandt's gesture, which always manages to escape The American View of WWII.