It Must Have Been
| God Bless America
By Kate Smith
THANKS TO ALL OUR VETERANS
EVERYWHERE FOR OUR FREEDOM
Those are thought provoking questions, and I have been wondering lately whether the scientists really knew how much death and destruction would occur when the bomb was dropped. According to another book that I am reading here, when first discussed by a committee called by Henry Stimson, the then Secretary of War, the bomb was to be used to cause much damage on the Japanese defense plants. (This committee was entirely made up of civilians but included the scientists who were developing the project or at least 4 of the top men) It was also thought that it would make a profound psychological impression on as many inhabitants as possible.(Good grief!) J.Robert Oppenheimer(a scientist involved in producing the bomb) had assured the committee that the visual effect of an atomic bombing would be tremendous. After I read this, I wondered if they knew of the deaths that would be caused and the ongoing exposure health problems which are still with us. The decision to drop the bomb was not made lightly, with many questions asked(and many times, not answered).
There was a scientist, D.C.Brewster, who had worked on the uranium isotope separation for S-1(the name of the bomb?) who was tormented over what a the release of the energy locked up in the atom might mean. He wrote a letter to Stimson(which was passed on to everyone concerned, including the president) saying,"The idea of the destruction of civilization is not melodramatic hysteria or crackpot raving. It is a very real and, I submit, almost inevitable result." He urged a demonstration of one atomic bomb on a target in Japan, but then no further production of nuclear material. He mentioned that our only reason for going on with the project had been to beat Germany in a race to develop the bomb and now that we had defeated Germany, it was no longer necessary to continue promoting this horrible project. His final comments were that even though many greater casualties would happen in conquering Japan, if we didn't drop the bomb, it would be better to proceed down that path. He felt that there would be unconstrained competition in the production of the nuclear material. Wasn't he right??? Isn't that what happened?
On the other side of this argument are the very real comments from right here in Books at the Truman discussion from men who were waiting on the islands near Japan. Just waiting to attack Japan. Many of whom had been shipped to the Pacific Theatre after spending many months and years fighting the war in Europe. They knew what could happen in Japan if we invaded. They knew that the Japanese were very dedicated to winning and would fight to the end of their own civilization. To these soldiers, the bomb brought relief from the fear of once again going into the battles that would ensue.
All of our hindsight would maybe say, we shouldn't have dropped the bomb or we should have known more about the results but this was a world war and the men involved thought that using this weapon would end it and save many lives on both sides.
Did Truman know what horrible consequences would occur? He claimed that he did but no one was very clear on what power the weapon might have. Does the word "desperation" come to mind?
With hindsight we know things now that we didn't know then. We didn't know the military capabilities of Japan. We didn't know very much about the dangers of nuclear energy. We only knew that if we attacked Japan, the losses (both American and Japanese) would be enormous -- perhaps greater than the Japanese losses that occurred from the bomb. And for those who have never been involved in a war, the goal is to minimize our losses and maximize the losses of the enemy. Wartime is not the time to be humane. War is not a humane activity. I believe it was General Patton who said to his troops: "Your goal is not to die for your country. Your goal is to make the other person die for his country."
We are about to enter another war which, who knows, could escalate into a world war. But that is another subject.
I remember seeing this movie when I was just a babe in arms!! And there were quite a few movies made about this subject, including one based on the book, "Enola Gay".
But we are discussing, "Duty" and its quite a different approach to the bomb subject. A man's discovery of why his father was so enamoured of Paul Tibbets.
What did the training consist of that was different?
After a year and a half in Europe I was in Germany when the bomb dropped waiting to see if we got to go home first or went directly to the Pacific. We all were depressed thinking that we would be "old men" of 25, 26 or even 27 years old before we would ever see our families again.
Yes, I think it is a generational thing about the dropping of the bomb.
For Americans, WWII began in December 1941 and ended 3 years and 8 months later. Japan's war, in contrast, began with the conquest of Manchuria in 1931 and expanded to all-out war against China in 1937. The Japanese had been geared for war for 15 years; and as their situation became increasingly desperate, what had begun as the indoctrination of young men for death in battle became expanded into a frenetic and fanatical campaign to socialize the entire population for a final suicidal fight. The "hundred million" would die defending the sacred homeland, just as selfless young kamikaze pilots were doing."
None of this is for publication but so much has happened to me in the last decade or so, I feel the urge coming upon me to write again. If only I had the time away from my full-time private practice and my community activities. Maybe I'll do that when I hit 90.
"If Dante had been with us in the plane, he would have been terrified! The city we had seen so clearly in the sunlight a few minutes before was now an ugly smudge. It had completely disappeared under this awful blanket of smoke and fire.
A feeling of shock and horror swept over all of us.
"My God!" Lewis wrote as the final entry in his log.
He was later quoted as having said, "My God, what have we done?" These words were put in MY mouth by the authors of the movie script for "Above and Beyond." Whatever exclamations may have actually passed our lips at this historic moment, I cannot accurately remember."
I'm limping in late, briefly and under the weather. But I had to come in to express my admiration for Bob Greene, a gifted writer : just check out e.g. his Be True to Your School or Once upon a Time to begin with. I guarantee you will be uplifted.
Re question # 2 : In the book before us, Bob Greene shows us the concept and meaning as well as the execution of Duty, , and by linking Paul Tibbets, the legend, to his own father, the author has made the legend comprehensible and accessible for us all in a moving tribute to both men.
Ella, the book that I am reading is not just about the bomb. Its:"Truman"!! Here is a site about the history of atomic power. Atomic Bomb Trinity Very interesting paragraph there, about the Japanese considering making an atomic bomb of their own and of Germany(after they have been defeated) sending arms to Japan and uranium. Thank goodness,we captured that ship.
Robby, I see that you are planning on giving your memoirs to your children. Our author here, Bob Greene and his sister have two books out for us seniors. They are suggestions on how and what to write for your children and grandchildren. Our writing class at the senior center here has been spending the last year doing just this and we are all having a good time. We have drawn a few more members just because we doing this project. When we finish, we plan on making our "books" into a keepsake or keepsakes for our progeny. It is my firm belief that We all have a story to tell!. It is such fun to hear about someone else's life. We choose a topic each week and come back to class to read our stories. Very enjoyable. I found these two books by the Greenes in our B&N bookstore. Phyllis Greene's book is also there, printed in a similar format and having a very similar book cover. They have them displayed on the same table along with other books by the family.
And, Ella, I don't have that other book, "Enola Gay" Is there only one copy? Did you know that there was a TV movie made about the incident in 1980? "Enola Gay::the Men, the Mission, the Atomic Bomb". Written by two crew members, Gordon Thomas and Max Gordon Witts? Is about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the effect it has had on their lives. Its available(for sale) at the Blockbuster site here online.
Its so good that you have dropped by and are reading along with us what I considered a throughly readable and enjoyable book about a son and his love for his dad. What a tribute!
Lorrie, the thought of the bomb being a deterent to the Russians was another reason we wanted to drop it as you will read in the history of atomic power which I think I put a link to earlier.
Robby, its amazing, but just today, I was telling my granddaughter in Portland,OR about the writing of our memoirs and she said, "Oh, goody, I can't wait to read it! She knows that she is in it, doesn't she! Hahaha!
Ginny, I was surprised with your sons and dil's answers to your question about the bomb. I think the generation that doesn't agree with the bombing is the 60's and 70's set especially those who went to Woodstock!
I actually spent hours watching Brian Lamb interview George Will on BookTV on CSpan. Quite a good interview. Will is so articulate and thinks things through so well. Did anyone else see it? Its being repeated at 5pm and 11pmEDT tonight.
..."We regard the matter of dropping the bomb as an exceedingly important." General Marshal later explained. "We had just been through a bitter experience at Okinawa. This had been preceded by a number of similar experiences in other Pacific Islands. (The first day of the invasion of Iwo Jima had been more costly than D-Day at Normandy....The Japanese had demonstrated in each case they would not surrender and they fight to the death.... It was to be expected that resistance in Japan, with their home ties, could be even more severe. We had had one hundred thousand people killed in Tokyo in one night of bombs, and it had seemingly no effect whatsoever. It destroyed the Japanese cities, yes, but their morale was affected so far as we could tell, not at all. So it seemed quite necessary, if we could, shock them into action....We had to end the war, we had to save American lives."
Other decisions that influenced Truman to drop the bomb:
"Truman had earlier authorized the Chiefs of Staff to move more than 1 million troops for a final attack on Japan, Thirty divisions were on the way to the pacific from the European Theater, from one end of the world to the other, something never done before. Supplies in tremendous quantity were piling up on Saipan. Japan had some 2.5 million regular troops on the home islands, but every male between the ages of fifteen and sixty, every female from seventeen to forty-five, was being conscripted and armed with everything from ancient brass cannon to bamboo spears, taught to strap explosives to their bodies and throw themselves under advancing tanks. One woman would remember being given a carpenter's awl and instructed that killing just one American would do. "You must aim at the abdomen," she was told "Understand? The abdomen." To no one with the American and Allied forces in the Pacific did it look as though the Japanese were about to quit.
Truman foresaw unprecedented carnage in anattempted invasion. 'It occured to me,' he would remark a few months later 'that a quarter of a million of the flower of our young manhood were worth a couple Japanese cities and I still think they were and are.'
In regards to saving the lives of young American soldiers, I'll let you folks be the judge if dropping the bomb was right or wrong. Harry Truman's first responsibility was ending the war and saving the lives of as many American military personnel as possible As John F said. "They started it." I say: we finished it.
"He told me that he had never lost a night's sleep in all the years since his crew dropped the bomb - I sleep just fine - and if anything upsets him, it is that some people still consider the use of the atomic bomb as an unnecessarily barbaric act.......I sleep so well because I know how many people got to live full lives because of what we did!"
"Please try to understand this. It's not an easy thing to hear, but please listen. There is no morality in warfare. You kill children. You kill women. You kill old men. You don't seek them out, but they die. That's what happens in war."
Ella, I am enjoying the book once more, its my second reading.
Maggie, so sorry to hear of your brother's death at 58. My husband lost his 56 year old brother, totally unexpected, two years ago. Its such a shock when they are so young! My heart goes out to you.
1. Do you agree with Tibbets that a secret mission of a new weapon could not be kept from the public today?
2. Were you surprised at the cyanide pills given to the crew? In what other circumstances might these "suicide pills" be given to service personnel?
According to what was put about after the war, cyanide pills were commonly given to spies so why not a crew who might have to bail out over Japan. They certainly would have dreaded coming down to the Japanese at that time. The country was not kind! And, it was a person's decision whether to use it or not, wasn't it? Surely, the government couldn't order you to kill yourself!
Ginny, if you go to Tibbet's homepage which is linked above, there are a plethora of pictures concerning the bomb and the crew and Tibbets.
Return of the Enola Gay. Author: Tibbets, Paul W. Condition: Illus. Columbus, OH 1998 H Hard Cover F First Edition J Near Fine jacket. Near Fine 8 vo Dj in mylar; 339 pages Signed: I Signed by Author. Format: Hardcover / First Edition / Dust Jacket / Signed Associated Dealer: 84 Charing Cross Bookstore Our Price: $186.44 More Info...
RETURN OF THE ENOLA GAY Author: Tibbets, Paul W Condition: Columbus, First edition, octavo. 331pp +index, illustrated. A fine copy in dj. Signed by Tibbets Format: Hardcover / First Edition / Dust Jacket Associated Dealer: Old New York Book Shop, ABAA Our Price: $257.30
Here's some B&N listings for FLIGHT OF THE ENOLA GAY.
Flight of the Enola Gay Author: TIBBETS, PAUL Condition: FINE wraps (paperback). SIGNED under his photo @ book's front. Photo is of Tibbets & his navigator & bombadier. Over their picture he inscribes "To Jack Wright, with best wishes". Tibbets' inscription & signature clear & sharp, no hesitation or over writing. In blue ink, likely from a fountain pen. A paperback that was likely never read as spine is perfectly smooth & flat; furthur, neither upper nor lower gutter line shows faintest hint of a "reader's crease". Corners of book prefectly square, BUT: upper, front, tip & first few pages were lightly folded. Small price sticker from Smithsonian Museum Shops on back cover. 1st edition. Format: Paperback / First Edition Associated Dealer: Quiet Friends Our Price: $511.30 More Info...
Flight of the Enola Gay Author: Tibbets, Paul W., Illustrated by 10 pages b/w illustrations. Condition: Paperback. 1st Printing. Inscribed "Paul W. Tibbets / 9-24-91" in blueink. Fine Format: Paperback / First Edition / Signed Associated Dealer: Legends In History Our Price: $638.30 More Info...
Two statements made by Greene are not clear to me; perhaps one of you can explain what the author is attempting to express here:
Displayed in his parents house is a portrait of his dad as a young soldier, painted when he was about 20 years of age. Greene says "as I looked at the portrait, with him (his father) sleeping not so many feet away-I was fifty-one. The man in uniform in the painting still seemed older than I was."
Furthermore, why didn't his father accept Greene's diploma from college? It was a son's expression of his gratitude for his father. Greene that his father's "expression was dismissive-even disdainful" at the thought of accepting the gift of his son's diploma. But when he lay dying, the diploma of his son was hanging on the wall.
Two very poignant stories! What to make of them?
Fascinating to explore.
Tibbets actually started Executive Jet here in Columbus and was very successful! I used to go to the bank at the same time he did on Fridays back in the 80's. I was removing money while he was increasing his account, I am sure!!
Yes, Ella, I thought obout McCain,too when they referred to the cyanide pills. Can the government insist that you use one? Hmmmmm?
As to the picture of Bob's dad seeming to be older, I do understand what he is talking about. Your parents are always older than you are. Does that mean that when you look at your parents in their 20's or 30's, that your mind set returns to that of a 3-yr old? Hmmmmm!
I will reread Greene's story of his father and the diploma as I don't remember what was said. Remember I am just rereading this book.
”At the beginning of World War II, the bombing of civilians was regarded as a barbaric act. As the war continued, however, all sides abandoned previous restraints. But international law has always distinguished between civilians and combatants.”
<b”By and large, governments are guided by considerations of expediency rather than by moral considerations. And this, I think, is a universal law of how governments act……. Prior to the war I had the illusion that up to a point the American Government was different. This illusion was gone after Hiroshima.” - Dr. Leo Szilard
“It will be very difficult to persuade the world that a nation which was capable of secretly preparing and suddenly releasing a weapon, as indiscriminate as the rocket bomb and a thousand times more destructive, is to be trusted in its proclaimed desire of having such weapons abolished by international agreement. We have large accumulations of poison gas, but do not use them, and recent polls have shown that public opinion in this country would disapprove of such a use even if it would accelerate the winning of the Far Eastern war. It is true, that some irrational element in mass psychology makes gas poisoning more revolting that blasting by explosive, even though gas warfare is in no way more "inhuman" than the war of bombs and bullets.”
“Scientists have often before been accused of providing new weapons for the mutual destruction of nations, instead of improving their well-being. It is undoubtedly true that the discovery of flying, for example, has so far brought much more misery than enjoyment or profit to humanity”
I just corrected my e-mail address which changed last January
So if you sent a message and it was returned, click on my new one.
It was necessary for Tibbets to maintain absolute secrecy during 1944 - 1945 as his atomic mission took shape. What is your opinion about the tactics of fear that Tibbets used to enforce secrecy and silence among his men of the 509th?
"It was on Dec.l7,1944, by coincidence the 41st anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first flight in a powered aircraft at Kitty Hawk, that the 509th Composite Group was officially activated.
Meanwhile, one of our most important tasks was related to security. It was necessary to impress upon every man as he joined our outfit that he must not discuss the nature of our operation with anyone. We put the screws on very tight. It was awkward to explain to our people that they must not talk to outsiders about our mission. They themselves were in the dark, so how could they give away information they didn't possess. .......With some we had to get tough, with the help of an efficient security organization attached to our group by the Manhattan District.......whose job it would be to infiltrate every phase of our operation and literally spy on our people to be sure there was no information leakage. We worked out a plan to monitor the mail, the phone calls and even the off-duty conversations of our men.
Did any of you in this discussion have someone tell you a secret years years later of a military operation.? You don't have to go into detail just a simple Yes or No will suffice.
Photo from NAIL
Photo from an article by Ben Snowden, Education Network
MortKail, I believe that may be an R on the tail of the Enola Gay and I don't know what it means. Maybe some Air Force vets can tell us. The plane was probably photographed after it returned from the bomb run. The message under the photo tells us it was photographed 08/06/1945. Here's a link to the site where I found it. Scroll about half way down the page and you'll see it.
Here's another link that take you to a site that gives you photos and battles of WW One and WW 2. Believe me no veteran or anyone else that lived those times should fail to visit this site. This link is also listed in the TRUMAN heading, but some how I think it belongs here, too. BOOKMARK it you'll want to return to it many times.
"If leaders can't be trained, why do we spend so much on educating military leaders at West Point, Annapolis and the Air Force Academy? Of course military leaders also are excellent managers -- just look at Dwight Eisenhower and Clayton Powell."
"To me he (Tibbets) comes across as highly militant, rigid in his adherence to military orders, indifferent to individual suffering, and, it seems, quite unremorseful."
”Tokyo was laid waste on one memorable night when 325 bombers, (our B-29’s) each loaded with 7 tons of fire bombs, destroyed an area of 16 square miles and took one hundred thousand lives. I have often mentioned that episode when people have spoken of the horror of the atom bomb.”
”Although I had to obey orders and do everything a soldier must do, it was kind of a newfound freedom. Everyone was alike, nobody was given any privileges other than what they deserved or earned, and I was not fettered by a job that I did not like. So going into the Army, believe it or not, was kind of a relief to me.”
I did not expect to find or experience freedom. As that famous song told us:--"This is the Army, Mr. Jones -- no more private telephones -- you've had breakfast in bed before but you won't have it there anymore!! etc - etc"
Right after Dec 7th I applied as a pilot in the Army Airforce. Passed the mental exam o.k., but several weeks later just barely failed to pass the eye test.
I repeated this process with the Navy, Marines and Coast guard, with the same results.
This took many months and I worked in the shipyards building Liberty ships in the interim and these months were stressful to me.
Finally, in Dec 1942 they said my eyes were good enough for a glider pilot.
So yes, looking back now it definately was a relief to know what I would be doing in the service. Was inducted and sent to Shephard Field, TX for training.
When arriving there was informed no more glider pilots were needed and I wound up as an armorer. Looking back that was a fortunate outcome.
Wound up with a P-47 Fighter Group and arrived in England in early April 1944, and then Normandy, Belgium closely supporting Patton's 3rd Army and was In Germany two months before VE day. Always close to the front but back far enough so enemy artillery could not reach our airstrip.
Is there a line, and where is it? All soldiers anywhere are bound to obey orders, lest there be mutiny or anarchy. So I mourn for all those killed before their time in the defense of their country, just as they were told to do - and how could they refuse their duty ?
"In the months after Pearl Harbor..... morale in the U.S.about the war in the Pacific seemed to sink ever lower. There had been no effective response to Pearl Harbor......American officials determined that a surprise bombing raid of the Japanese mainland was the way to turn things around."
Most of you know about the Doolittle raid - considered to be the turning point in the war of the Pacific; are there any parallel battles in recent times to compare with this heroic effort? There is gossip on the street that the bombing of Iraq is to compensate for America's failure to capture the terrorists who attacked our country; any truth to this?
Perhaps Bob Green's father felt free from not having to worry where his next meal was coming from, or clothing ,or a place to sleep. The service does free one up from those responsibilities.
"My father's generation fought a war to save democracy....My generation fought to preserve our freedom from oppression. And sometimes I look around at what the United States has become and I have to reach the sad conclusion that we may have won the battle.....but we haven't won the war....Because of the utter lack of discipline in every area of society. Anything goes. There is no center...
I would like to see determined and iron-assed people get into positions of influence in this country. Some people who wouldn't be afraid to say that there is a difference between right and wrong. I would lilke to see some standards set that we can be proud of."
Hmmmm. Isn't there some disconnect here?-----"-Ella, maybe he got his wish with our current Commander and Chief. So far he is off to a good start. IN MYOPINION!"
Ann, you take good care of yourself.
Patriotism is a general word. It’s vague. When you’re fighting a war it is not a matter of patriotism in the general sense. It’s about the death of friends. You watch friends get blown to pieces. And that is not a patriotic feeling. It’s a revolting feeling….and it hurts when the person is a friend of yours. You’re talking to a guy one minute, and the next minute he’s body parts and dead. It’s shocking! It is a shock that doesn’t leave you, and when you come back home you may not want to bring those things out.”
”It’s a little-noticed aspect of what happened to the men of my father’s generation and Tibbets’ generation-but they were boys who grew up during the depression, when there was absolutely no hope of going on any kind of a long vacation anywhere, much less across the Atlantic ocean. And then, because of history’s violent jog in the road, these small-town Depression boys were seeing places that even the most fabulously wealthy international travelers of previous generations never got to…….these impossibly distant places were now a part of their lives forever. These young men had gotten out of town, all right-they had gotten about as far out of town as they ever might have dared to dream.”
No, I do not approve of Bush.
I meant to portray the irony in Johnf's message about those willing to give up freedom---etc. deserve neitheretc., while at the same time praising Bush who appointed Ashcroft as Attorney General.
Ashcroft and others in the Bush admin are rapidly taking away our long fought for liberties.
The reason we want to go back is that our experiences in WW11 were the most exciting time in our young lives--especially if one didn't get killed.
As for me, I hadn't been more than 150 miles in any direction from where I was born and raised before WW11.
I was thrilled to see London and Dover, England; then the Bayeaux Tapestry in Bayeaux, France, which I remembered from a European history class ---and Paris, Brussels, ect---beyond my wildest dream!.
Fortunately, I've been able to "go back" five times and loved it.
On one Elderhostel in April 1998 we spent three nights in Rouen, France. My wife agrees I said there is something special about Rouen to me during those 3 nights. And one of the lecturers said I looked like a Norman Peasant.
Lo and behold. Out of the blue last year I got an e-mail from someone in Detroit, Mi who said that he & I are 8th cousins, once removed, and he has traced my father back to Rouen, France in 1630.
Is this spooky, or what?
"That's one of the things that the war did for us...It's an old saying, but it's a true one: There is nothing like American ingenuity. For the GIs during the war, it was a question of coming upon new problems to solve every day. Problems that none of us had ever anticipated before-and we had to figure out ways to solve them everyday of the war."
"That's something that no one ever thinks about....The sounds of war. I haven't even thought about it for a long time. But it was a big part of it. The war was not quiet...and the noise wasn't like anything else we ever experienced before, or like anything we would ever experience again....The gunfire, and the tank noises, and the sirens and the aircraft overhead all the time."
”The Bay of Naples was something that I shall never forget as long as I live. The harbor was absolutely jammed with the wreckage of all kinds of Italian warships, French warships…..we were closing in on the Germans…..they made good use of their 88s……we slept beneath the trucks because we didn’t know when we would be hit by incoming artillery or what.”
For example, I immediately enrolled at Hofstra College in Hempstead, Long Island. Levitt was starting to build his mass production houses on the potato fields near the college. I would go to college in the morning and pass five foundations. I would return in the afternoon and see five houses that hadn't been there before.
Once, I remember, we ate inside at the Eastmoor....there was loud music playing in the restaurant...and he (his father) called the waitress over and asked her to turn it down. "We can't turn it down, she said, It comes from downtown." I thought his eyes were going to turn to icicles - "The music comes from downtown," he said, each word an accusation. "It does" she said.
"I don't know" the waitress said.
"You're telling me that we have to sit here and have this music blast into our ears because someone downtown is controlling the volume?" he said. "Do your hamburgers come from downtown?
Because if they do, maybe you can tell the person who brings them to turn the music down on his way"
"The reason those years mean so much to so many of us is that it is the one time in your life that you are absolutely proud of what you are doing, and you are absolutely proud of your friends and what they are doing. It's a relationship of man-to-man.
"It is your ass and his--your ass and the guy next to you and the guy next to him. And the people back home can't see you, and they don't know what you're doing, and they don't know who you're doing it with. These men are your friends, and you are depending on them to live.
"Men among men! Men among men! And when you come back home after the war, it is never the same. You faced odds, and you made it back, and you faced down your worst fears. And all of a sudden you're back in a country where things are safer, and the people around you are not all working for the same goal.
"And you go on, and the war is over, and you become the person you will be for the rest of your life. But inside of you, the time when you were men among men will never go away."
Just wanted to let you know that my husband, Ralph, just finished reading Duty and he really enjoyed it. We had a few discussions about the atomic bomb and Harry Truman's decision to drop it. And about Bob Greene's easy writing which just draws you forth from beginning to end.
"Maybe we all get a little surprised when the years add up. Major Greene, in his final illness, believed at times that he was a young man again, at the bedside of his own extremely ill father, Bob Greene's grandfather. It moved me because each generation loved and identified with the previous one."
”But you see little things-how undignified people purposely are in their conduct and mannerisms, how people’s behavior when they are in public shows a complete lack of a proper upbringing and you find yourself asking yourself: Why did I do it all? Was it just for this?......It’s just you know, what really bothers me, and I’m no even sure why, is how many loudmouths there are walking around, not caring who they are offending, not caring when they use certain words in front of ladies and their elders. It’s disgusting.”
I don't know that Tibbets that he wasn't proud of any thing else that he had done but that being in the war gave him a great feeling of comaradarie(sp) with his men friends.
"The phrase "television war" was often used to describe Vietnam, but that was before cable, before all-news channels had the airtime available to show endless unedited hours of war coverage, live. And at the beginning of the 1990s, when the Gulf War-'Operation Desert Storm'-was telecast live on CNN, my father seemed more interested in that than in any television show any of the networks had broadcast in years.
I think it was Norman Schwarzkopf-at least that was part of it. Here, again and at last, was a general who got to be admired for being a general. The last time the nation had- with no sarcasm,with no irony- paid respectful attention to a general was......when?.......
So my father watched General Schwarzkopf with considerable approval......but the telecast of the Gulf War had confused him in ways he could not quite elucidate. There was no sprawl, no distance-you could see everything all at once, it was packaged with great expertise for the home viewer."
"The problem was, in back of us there was a battery of 90 milllimeter anti-aircraft guns, which fired constantly and were being used as artillery against the Germans.
This meant that while it was fairly peaceful during the day, you couldn't sleep at night because of this constant din of those 90-millimeter shells streaking overhead.
The Germans didn't seem to react to this until one terrible morning when they made a direct hit on us, killing several people and wounding some of my best men. And there but for the grace of God....I was not wounded that day, which was a lucky day for me, believe me, one of many, many that I had during my Army career.....
Had a 17 year old "hippie" daughter who thought we were politically ignorant, martini drinking old folks. She went to S.F. to march with her friends and did not think, know?, I also was marching? We accidentaly spotted eachother in the massive crowd on Market street.
With a horrified look she immediately disappeared into the crowd.
Another proud marching moment was participating in the "Great March on Wash, DC" for civil rights in 1963. Was living in Mamaroneck, NY then. Newspapers were filled with warnings about potential violence. We left Mamaroneck around 1:30 am in a school buss rented by the local NAACP. It was pitch black going down the NJ Turnpike. Whenever headlights overtook us, not knowing whether friend or foe, we all hunched over in our seats.
When we reached the junction where the PA Turnpike joined and saw the endless headlights, busses from PA, OH (Tibbetts should have been there) IN, IL, etc. streaming in a cheer went up. We passed the Mason-Dixon line and soon needed a "pit stop" and pulled into a gas station. Since the bus was mostly black, I recall only about 5 or 6 of us whites, the station refused permission.
But most were college age, and in good physicall shape, so we said we are going to use them! The three white employees stood around with sour looks as they witnessed their first "Potty-In."
When entering Wash, DC it was early dawn and we were thrilled to see the Army and National Guard at every intersection with mounted bayonets waving us thru. Actually heard the famous MLKing speech---"Thank God almighty----."
Wrote my older liberal sister that I was prouder of that then participating in WW11.
Phyllis, I am so glad that you have stuck with us and enjoyed your sojourn here on Seniornet. Hope you will return, after we finish Duty, to discuss other books with us.
"Winter came and the snow started piling up. It was at least thirty to thiry-six inches deep in some places, and nothing moved, nothing at all. Try to imagine the troops in the front line enduring the bitter cold and all this snow, with very little relief in sight.
Finally Christmas came, and Bill Ehrman and another guy and I were in our quarters, and it became midnight, and all of a sudden, along the whole perimeter of the front, the Germans started shooting tracer bullets straight up into the sky.
If it wasn't such a horrible thing, it would have been a beautiful sight. I shall never forget this as long as I live. The curtain of bright points of light lasted about three minutes, which was just about a minute and a half before the stroke of midnight and a minute and a half afterwards. The tracers suddenly ceased and it was all quiet on the Italian front."
"A few years ago your dad telephoned me after he had received a membership list of the 91st Infantry Divisioin Association. He said he didn't recognize any names on the list, but noticed that I live just a block from where he used to live in Bexley. We had a long chat about the 91st in Italy.....Later a mutual friend....... got us together for an afternoon of reminiscing....."
Just before Christmas, 1944 I was sleeping in a cellar in Germany, heard tanks approaching, and knew it wasn't ours. No singing of Christmas Carols, no passing of cigarettes to the Wehrmacht, just another battle looming as the Germans suddenly created the Battle of the Bulge.
No, I have never been to a re-union. That is in the past and I always live for the future.
My son is a passionately dedicated, idealistic, gifted teacher and coach who is slowly burning out before my eyes. He has said to me more than once,"What more can I do to REACH these kids --- ?".
Where are the values that are being talked about incessantly ? What are they ? And why is there so much violence and unbridled
Hello Phyllis, your presence in our midst is gracious and sincerely appreciated.
I admire your son for this book and 2 others of his that I have read. He is a fine writer.
But I lived with the same 5 men in a 6 man tent in England, France, Belgium and Germany from April 1944 thru Oct 1945. We did get into buildings sometimes, but even then we hung together. So we did get to know each other very well.
We parted company in late 1945 when we left Antwerp, Belgium on various ships back to the U.S. and discharge.
Admit it was a thrill to attend the first re-union of the 406th Fighter Group in Irving, TX in 1982-- 37 years after we last met.
5 of the 6, and wives, showed up. We had a wonderful time over the 3 day re-union.
They've had several since and even went overseas to put a plack at the many fighter strips/airfields we occupied. Two Mayors from Normandy have come to the U.S. on domestic re-unions.
Even the people from Handorf, Germany welcomed us. They were given 24 hrs to leave and then we took over and for the next 3 to 4 weeks did a lot of damage to the buildings by digging up gardens and breaking into walls for hidden treasures. We were extremely angry at the Germans by then.
We 6 took over a house with a bicycle shop on the first floor. For 3 weeks I had a private bedroom with a bed and a down comforter
Alas, there are now only three of us left.
I have finally finished and yes, its my second time through and I don't think I will be forgetting it very soon. Very poignant! Thanks to Bob Greene for helping us see the mindset of the crew and the US government at that time in our history.
Speaking of not resisting, Ella, come visit Curious Minds tomorrow and see our new topic, The toys of our childhood and what we did with them. Toyland Toyland Toyland Curious Minds See ya'll there!! And, Go Bucks!
"If your dad and I had grown up with the nudity and the language and the violence that young people see on TV and in the movies now, I don't think it would have had an effect on us one way or the other.......because it's not like we didn't know it was out there. Sex was all hush-hush-you couldn't see it everywhere....but it was there-the world just didn't serve it up to us on a silver platter."
The "facts of life" were always known (more or less) but discreetly hidden and not mentioned. Nowadays everything is brazenly put before the world (the viewing public); TV is the virtual babysitter in many households and always "on".
It won't do any good to restrict "adult" shows to evening hours because even the 'beloved' daytime soaps (especially the soaps !) can raise an adult's eyebrows and elicit a gasp, or two.
In my humble opinion there is an IMBALANCE : the offerings on TV focus much, much more on sexual innuendos than on, say, education. Which I find sad. Why is that, I wonder ? Are there commercial interests at work ?
I am still waiting for my library to have a copy of DUTY available.