You sure wouldn’t know it by what’s on television. Not a single movie, documentary or anything at all. We watched “Oh, What a Lovely War” with a chaser of “The Americanization of Emily.” Garry scoured the listings, but no channel is showing anything related to D-Day.
Not like there aren’t plenty of movies and documentaries from which to choose. So, have we forgotten? Call me weird, but I think this is a day to remember. Always.
Here I am, cynical, skeptical and nobody’s flag-waver reminding everyone that this day was important. It was the beginning of the final stage of the most devastating war in remembered history.
The summary of loss of life, 1937-1945:
Military deaths: More than 16,000,000
Civilian deaths: More than 45,000,000
Total deaths for the war years 1937-1945: More than 61,000,000
I don’t think we should be allowed to forget so quickly, do you? Because when we forget, when the lessons we learned are lost, then we stand in danger of repeating history. I, for one, think that’s a bad idea.
You can choose any person from history to teach you any topic you want. Who’s your teacher, and what do they teach you?
I don’t need to find some historical teacher out of history. I had real-life, real-time teachers to whom I will be eternally grateful. They taught me to learn, to love reading, to make up stories and write them down. To write non-fiction that was complete, accurate and unbiased. To find humor in physics. To love history, religion, archaeology, philosophy and all the mysteries of our world.
They encouraged curiosity, imagination and creative thinking.
Mrs. Schiff, 4th grade teacher at P.S. 35, who suggested I write “diaries” of historical people and learn to put myself into their worlds. Thank you. You made me feel special and talented and those lessons have traveled far and wide.
Dr. Silver, who taught English Literature and Linguistics at Jamaica High school. He forced me to parse sentences and respect punctuation and grammar while making me laugh. His doctorate in Linguistics helped him make our language intriguing, like a giant mystery to unravel. I’m still unraveling it.
Mr. Wekerle, head of Hofstra University’s Philosophy department. He believed in me. He taught phenomenology, History of Religion, Philosophy of Religion, but more importantly, saw through my bullshit. The first — and ONLY professor to give me a grade of D-/A+ … D- for content, A+ for style. He didn’t let me get away with anything. He made me fill in all those leaps of logic even though I whined vociferously that “everyone knows that stuff.”
Wekerle said “No, they don’t. You know it. Now tell them about it.”
And I did and from that I got a 40 year career.
Dr. Feiffer — my high school physics teacher — taught me even I, the least mathematically inclined student ever could be fascinated by science.
I never got together with numbers, but I learned to love science and I still do. The logic of it, the truth of it, the importance of it have stayed with me an entire lifetime.
I didn’t and don’t need teachers from the mists of time. I got what I needed from dedicated teachers who worked for crappy salaries to teach dunderheads and wise-asses like me to think, write, research and love learning.
Bless them all. The gifts they gave me were precious beyond words!
Back from our mini vacation, I want to say thanks to Tom and Ellin who must be the best hostess and host anywhere. I’ve been to expensive hotels with less fantastic cuisine and far worse accommodations.
Thanks to both for making us feel loved and welcome!
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