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In point of fact, World War II wasn’t always that ecumenical.Yet even then, events had a way of melting Americans into a common pot.
These are the heroes who helped end a war.” A newsman accompanying Reagan on that Normandy trip, Tom Brokaw, was so inspired by what he saw that he wrote , an ode to 1940s America. Today, World War II stands not only as the ultimate example of the struggle between good and evil, but as a reminder of the power of the can-do spirit.
Saikat Chakrabarti, for instance, top aide to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, routinely cites U. war-production figures from the 1940s as proof that the ambitious goals of the Green New Deal are attainable., depicting life on the home front—complete, sadly, with the terrible telegram from the War Department.
In the minds of many, the fabled arsenal of democracy became the hated war machine.
And thus it was that Senator George Mc Govern, the dovish Democratic presidential nominee in 1972, deliberately chose to downplay his war heroism: he had piloted or co-piloted 35 B-24 bomber missions over Hitler’s Europe, yet nobody knew it.
At Iwo Jima, where nearly 7,000 Americans died in just five weeks of fighting, the commanding chaplain assigned Lieutenant Roland Gittlesohn, the first Jewish chaplain in the Marines, to deliver the eulogy for the fallen.
Yet the Protestant and Catholic chaplains protested, and so, in the end, three separate services were held.
Men who were on the same ships with us, and went over the sides with us as we prepared to hit the beaches of this island. Somewhere in this plot of ground there may lie the man who could have discovered the cure for cancer. Not longer after—on June 6, to be exact—comes the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and with it, we’re sure to see a flotilla of specials and spectacles.
Under one of those Christian crosses, or beneath a Jewish Star of David, there may rest now a man who was destined to be a great prophet…to find the way, perhaps, for all to live in plenty, with poverty and hardship for none. Why, we’ll likely also be reminded of FDR’s D-Day prayer, broadcast to the nation, which began: “Almighty God: our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.” Admittedly, it’s hard to see President Donald Trump playing the same inspiring and unifying role that FDR did in 1944, or Reagan in 1984.
Now they lie here silently in this sacred soil, and we gather to consecrate this earth in their memory. Yet oftentimes, events prove to be larger than any personality, no matter how fractious.
Interestingly, Gittlesohn lived long enough to give the benediction at the 50th anniversary of Iwo Jima in the shadow of the Marine War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. Moreover, the impact of World War II was far more than just martial commemorations—there’s also a distinctly left-friendly domestic political angle.