In 2012, the last of the "War to End all Wars" veterans passed away. My grandfather fought in that war, in the British infantry. The very last combat veteran of "The Great War" passed away a year ago. With it, our focus mostly passed to the veterans of the second "Great War." Lost in the dialogue about the Second World War veterans; referred to as "the greatest generation," some others are less lionized and we should also remember them. In many cases they stood far taller, IMO, than those swept up in the great wars.
Case 1:Veterans of the Spanish Civil War
While I'm not necessarily a fan of their politics, many volunteers from the US and Canada fought against the Franco-led Fascists. In both countries, those are not recognized or honored for doing so, unlike those that later fought in the AVG or who were drafted for service. Belatedly, both countries have recognized their volunteers (more or less), as through the Mackenzie-Papineau Monument in Victoria BC, and the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Monument in San Francisco. Sadly, to this day, these veterans are not permitted to be listed in the Books of Remembrance in the Ottawa Peace Tower, nor in any equivalent US site. Who says lefties are always wrong? Well, at least the couple of dozen that are still alive. They fought Hitler while the rest of the West slept. That took REAL courage.
Case 2: Korea
Korea veterans forgotten? Yes. IMO, the now passing generation of men and women that came up after the Second World War to answer the call of the United Nations have mostly been forgotten. Truman is remembered for the atomic bomb. MacArthur is remembered for returning to the Phillipines, and Eisenhower is remembered for D Day. Arguably, each of them may have achieved more in Korea, where they stopped an invasion without the impetus of an Adolph Hitler. My dad fought in Korea. I don't think he ever got a parade when he came home, nor the thanks of a grateful nation. Thanks, dad.
Case 3: Vietnam
Vietnam is a mixed story. Ignored in places like Canada and Britain, it is remembered in a conflicted sort of way in the US. This is a war of people just a touch older than I. I was in ROTC before it was decided we were not needed. Still, IMO, the Vietnam Memorial is one of the best remembrances of all time to a cause that was lost despite the best efforts and sacrifices of those we called upon. Truly, we lost some of our best and brightest there, in a cause few now think was worth their sacrifice. At the time, most of them were not asked for their opinion - people like Kennedy, LBJ, and Nixon said "Go," and, mostly, they went. They left a foundation that led to a more proper respect for those that put their lives at risk for the rest of us.
|The First-Ever Newspaper I Saved|