Commonwealth Journal

Local News

May 20, 2013

War ration books remind us of difficult times during WWII

Somerset —

With 24/7 news channels spouting horrendous tales of terror and rampant crime, it’s easy to conclude the world has gone to the dogs; that these are dangerous times.
Sadly, horrific events are nothing new. For those old enough to remember World War II, nothing since has matched the impact this global conflict had on the American people.
Fear was enhanced by a lack of knowledge. Radio was coming into its own, but there was no television. During World War II people in this country mostly depended on the voice of CBS’s Edward R. Murrow. Believe it or not, many homes did not have a radio.
Blackouts –– all lights turned out during mock bombing raids –– sent chills up the most manly of spines. Mothers crying on front porches as sons went off to war were pictures of pain beyond comprehension. They had seen the ghostly octagonal structures on practically every courthouse lawn with gold stars by names of those who already had paid the ultimate price.
Young people during those terrible times grew up thinking war was in their future. Dreams of dying on a battlefield were more realistic than fantasy.
With urging, an old soldier, now deceased, told this writer about the Beaches of Normandy. He shuddered as he remembered how they were warned before the landing they might not make it to shore. To the day of his death he never avoided nightmares and the screams of his buddies as they fell by his side.
  The Invasion of Normandy was the establishment of Allied forces in Normandy, France, during Operation Overlord in 1944 during World War II. At the time it was the largest amphibious invasion to ever take place.
  Not to diminish sacrifices of our men and women in today’s Armed Forces, most Americans during these times of wars and rumors of wars go about their daily lives. There are new cars, plenty of gasoline at a high price, several pairs of shoes and sugar to sweeten our coffee.

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