My mother Lea and I have just concluded several nights of viewing the 1983 mini-series Winds of War (which was so good that I’m re-reading it, via Kindle). Ma was born in 1924, and lived that experience while I’ve always been a military history buff, so we’ve had lots to discuss. One difference: Pearl harbor vs. 9/11. Mother spent that day skiing in the California mountains and only when she returned to LA did she learn of the attack and even then, it was an event on a far-away island – the true horror developed slowly. Whereas for me, nine years later, I still can’t speak the term “9/11” without choking and tearing up. Besides losing friends and the children of friends, I am still so enraged that my children watched those towers burn that I have added an extra prayer these days, asking God for the grace to forgive muslims – not the Taliban – I hope there really is a hell and that they roast there for eternity, but it surely is not good for my soul, and probably a sin, to harbor such hate for an entire class of blameless people.
So there’s that. But another difference we noticed: when Churchill and Roosevelt met in Nova Scotia for their secret meeting, the press kept the secret. Today, that would never happen. Do you remember a few years ago when the New York Times discovered that the Brits and the US were secretly following terrorists’ money transfers around the globe? The White House begged the Times not to expose the operation, to no avail, and the surveillance program was destroyed. Reading old news stories of WWII, you see terms like “our troops”, or “our boys”. Today, the press considers itself some kind of neutral observer, taking no sides between enemies of civilization and its defenders. I find that very sad, and troubling.
So whatever – I’m off to the next chapter of Winds of War. It’s a great read, but if you are looking for an entertaining series, I heartily recommend the film version too.