"Nineteen Clevelanders on Bougainville. Seasoned veterans of jungle fighting after nearly two years overseas, these 37th division infantrymen have fought for control of the Northern Solomons from New Georgia to Bougainville."
For people of my generation, who are used to traveling pretty much anywhere we want with relative ease, it is difficult to imagine the thoughts of the servicemen and women who literally went halfway around the world to fight for our country. In a time before commercial air travel and interstate highways, average people of this generation rarely even traveled out of state, let alone to a different country or continent. The idea must have been, pardon the pun, foreign to them. But, they all had very specific jobs to accomplish, and I'm sure that the Armed Forces leadership didn't let them dwell too much on just how far away from home they really were.
And I wonder how my grandfather's parents, who were immigrants from Croatia, felt about the possibility of one of their children becoming seriously injured or dying in a part of the world they had never heard of and one that was completely inaccessible to them. Probably not what they had in mind when they decided to come to America to live and raise a family. (My grandfather's mom passed away in April 1946; I'm not exactly sure when my grandfather returned from his service, but I do hope it was in time to see his mom before she died.)
Today's lesson: You may find yourself WANTING to learn about moments in U.S. history if you know that one of your ancestors played an active part in shaping it.
©2012, copyright Emily Kowalski Schroeder