Thursday, June 11, 2009

Too Eerie

When I heard the news about the shooting at the Holocaust Museum on the radio while running errands, it really gave me a start.

The announcer didn't say where the shootings happened, so I thought it was at the Holocaust Museum in Houston where El Jefe and some of his partners were taking a group of summer law clerks that day for a tour. I was relieved it didn't happen here and very sad it happened there.

El Jefe reported the museum guide asked the group of twenty-somethings if Hitler was German. They all nodded. Then El Jefe responded in German that they were wrong--he was Austrian. That surprised many of them. He said that it goes to show how little even well-educated members of that generation know about WWII. A sad thought in light of the 65th D-Day observance this last weekend.


Averill said...

That is such a "Dad story". :)

Mac said...

In 1994, we took my in-laws to the National Air and Space Museum on the Mall in DC. It was before the Enola Gay controversy, but the museum was showing a looped documentary about the Spring 1945 bombing campaign over Japan. Most major Japanese cities were bomber into non-existence. The one-night fire bombing raid over Tokyo, using conventional iron bombs and incendiaries, probably killed more people than both atomic weapons combined.

There was a Japanese tour group watching the film, muttering and commenting in Japanese. Finally, one young man in his 30s looked at a boy of perhaps 10 or 11, and in loud, clear English said, "I do not know, my son. I do not know why they would do such terrible things to our country."
The tourists were all smirking.

My father-in-law, a WWII vet and B-29 crew member, looked over at the boy and said, "Well, boy, you just remember that the next time you decide to kill a lot of sleeping American sailors before you bother to declare war. We don't take well to such things."

The Americans present--at least those of a certain age--erupted in a cheer and the Japanese tourists slunk away, tails between their legs.

Sadly, some of the younger Americans had to ask what was going on. One older guy, wearing a Fifth Marine Division shirt (they took Iwo), told a 20-something girl, "Aw, hell, honey, you just had to be there!"

The Greatest Generation, indeed!

Stushie said...

I know what you mean about WW2 ignorance. I went to the Oakridge kids museum with a bunch of schoolkids a couple of years ago. the museum was putting on a WW2 display. On the first page, the writer of the museum guide had written Pearl Harbor took place on 7 Dec 1942.

When I pointed it out to the staff that the year of Pearl Harbor was 1941, they looked at me incredulously...after all, what would a Scotsman know about the date of Pearl Harbor. I don't know if they ever changed that sheet.