See All Topics

Home / Section: Comic history

CSotD: A Pause In Our Usual Schedule

(We’ll do Friday Funnies on Saturday this week)

(Scott Clissold)

On this anniversary, we are engaged in a new struggle against the coronavirus which demands the same spirit of national endeavour that you exemplified 75 years ago. We cannot pay our tribute with the parades and street celebrations we enjoyed in the past; your loved ones may be unable to visit in person. But please allow us, your proud compatriots, to be the first to offer our gratitude, our heartfelt thanks and our solemn pledge: you will always be remembered. — Boris Johnson

 

A dear friend of mine died just a few days ago, and, when I wrote about him a half-century after D-Day, I began the column

“The next generation is coming, and they need to know what happened,” D-Day Veteran John Bacon told the Press-Republican. “Guys like me won’t be around for the next 50 years to tell about it.”

Most of them are gone now, which means the phones are not ringing in newsrooms around the country, asking why there is no mention of the 75th Anniversary of VE Day.

We used to get calls, particularly on December 7, complaining that we had not commemorated Pearl Harbor on those uneven anniversaries that newspapers tend to ignore.

The old readers wanted us to pause for December 7, for D-Day, for VE Day, for VJ Day, and we’d explain that we only do that on multiples of 5 and 10.

Now it’s 75 years, a major multiple, but only the British seem to remember.

Perhaps it’s because they got the hell bombed out of them for 14 months before we put aside isolationism and joined in the affair.

In case you thought those selfish rightwing fascists in the Michigan state house were some kind of anomaly.

I’m starting to think maybe the America that gave us the War on Poverty and the Civil Rights Act was the anomaly.

Anyway, I suppose there’s some mention of the anniversary in the American press somewhere, but I didn’t see much, even with a Google News search.

Yes, we’ve got other things on our minds right now, I know.

 

But that didn’t stop Dave Brown from working the anniversary into a contemporary comment.

 

Or Peter Brookes, for that matter. It’s not required that every knee be bent.

Granted, the British have a much greater sense of history than we do. They even pay a bunch of people to dress up and wave to the tourists and have lavish weddings on television and whatnot, which I would say seems foolish to Americans but, then again, we’re the ones who set alarms to get up in the middle of the night and watch said lavish weddings on television.

 

We have no sense of history, as Darrin Bell noted in a commentary the other day, and he’s right in ways I’m sure he intended and probably in some ways he did not, because when you don’t face your history at all, you can invent self-serving fictions at either end of the continuum.

 

Back in Blighty, Graeme Bandeira offers this imagined flyover while we’ve got a real one planned for Manhattan, not of WWII pilots and not in commemoration of the end of the war in Europe.

Jet Blue is doing a flyover to salute nurses and whoever, and there have already been several observations from New Yorkers that having civilian aircraft sweep low over the city is still a pretty chilling memory for them.

Ah, never mind: Give it 75 years and nobody will even remember that it happened.

 

Bill Bramhall points out how little we even remember of a war 50 years ago.

John Kerry, who went and who served with honor in a combat position, was lied about and attacked for his service, and Bill Clinton’s dubious gymnastics to avoid having to face the draft drew all sorts of scorn when they were running for office.

But now we have a leader who didn’t simply avoid the draft but actively dodged it, and the same people who despised Kerry and Clinton act as though it never happened.

Trump let others make the sacrifice then and, as Bramhall suggests, he remains above it all today.

And we’ll have to wait until November to find out how many people even care.

 

On the 60th Anniversary of VE Day, Cam Cardow offered this thought, presumably wishing only to be cynical, not knowing that buffoonery would not be the worst to come.

Anyway, we’ll see what September 2 looks like, as we mark the 75th Anniversary of the end of the whole shebang.

And then on November 3, we’ll see if it’s really over at all, or if we’ve simply switched sides the way they do in tennis.

 

Meanwhile, a message for the ages, and a collection of cartoons from the war by British cartoonist Philip Zec.

 

And a song from the days before heelspurs were invented:

Major Glenn Miller’s single-engine UC-64 Norseman, departed from RAF Twinwood Farm in Clapham, on the outskirts of Bedford, December 15, 1944, and disappeared while flying over the English Channel.

Community Comments

#1 Paul Berge
May/8/2020
@ 6:39 am

I recall a lack of observance of the 75th anniversaries related to World War I in 1989-1993. Three quarters of a century is plenty of time for new news to be more pressing and for the old soldiers to fade away.

#2 Richard John Marcej
May/8/2020
@ 7:26 am

I lived in Rhode Island from 1983-89 and during those years one of our paid holidays at work was August 15th, VJ Day. (Even though Truman had established the date as September 2)
At that time, RI was the only state that still commemorated that day as a holiday.
Not sure if they still do these days.
It was pretty nice getting a paid holiday off in August.

#3 Kip Williams
May/8/2020
@ 6:35 pm

Fittingly enough, “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” is pretty much a swinged-up version of “Long, Long Ago.”

#4 Anna Kisluk
May/9/2020
@ 6:33 am

Unfortunately, some countries in Europe have lost their freedom and the sacrifice of our parents and grandparents may have been in vain. In this country, we are slowly seeing the rise of fascism and a dictatorship. The current administration is undercutting the rule of law and abrogating all responsibility for helping and providing for the country’s citizens. We, both here in in parts of Europe, should be ashamed for throwing away the freedom for which our ancestors fought and died.

#5 Robert Davis
May/9/2020
@ 12:06 pm

In reply to Anna Kisluk, our country is being pushed into socialism at a rapid pace. People are not stopping to think that when the government supplies your everyday living that someone else is having to pay for it. There won’t be a free America, just a country ruled by a few and everyone else under their control.

#6 Mike Peterson
May/9/2020
@ 12:28 pm

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

#7 Shirley Williams
May/9/2020
@ 3:37 pm

Mike Peterson, that was an on the nose, and perfect comment to Mr. Davis.

I’ve not responded here before but wanted to thank you for this column – I have been following for a while now.

My daughter got me a couple of Big band CDs for my car a while back (I am one of those ‘freeway flier’ part time professors, and spend a lot of time on the road) . It turns out that it is some of the mellowest freeway driving music ever. Glen Miller was a National treasure, and thanks for sharing that song, and the thoughts and insights preceding it.

#8 Brian Fies
May/9/2020
@ 7:13 pm

Damn Socialists. Give ’em an inch, and the next thing you know you’ve got a fire department, police department, public schools, post office, interstate highways, military, and space program. They’d just better keep their hands off of Social Security!

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.