Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Irony...

A day after the United States honored their soldiers and veterans commemorating Memorial Day, an American WWII aerial bomb exploded in the city of Göttingen, Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony), killing three and critically injuring two EOD experts. How's that for irony?

Isn't it strange how a war three-quarters of a century in the past, can so suddenly recall itself into our present times? Something that now seems so distant, so far away, that we, the following generations, can not even relate to.

Granted we Germans aren't big on military. While Americans celebrate Memorial Day and honor their troops whenever they can, our mindset is different, almost inexplicable to foreigners. We generally don't care much for uniforms, military parades and such. We don't like war, we don't want war and we sure as hell don't reminisce about "our" wars. But then we were the bad guys back then... We? No, them! And even though it wasn't actually us, it was an entire different generation and we - the German people of this generation - had nothing to do with what happened back then, still feel guilty and ashamed of the crimes commited in those years. Why? I honestly don't know. Maybe because of the unbearable cruelty, maybe because it was our ancestors, our family, our blood.

Yesterday three people died, because of what our grandparents and great-grandparents did. It makes me sad. It makes me think. But it also makes me proud of what my country has become in the decades since. Our country was rebuilt, by a hard working after-war-generation suffering from poverty, inflation and food deprivation, and the generosity of winning parties that helped us shape a modern and democratic Germany. A free country ruled by law, based on unalienable civil liberties. For that I am eternally grateful.

The discovery of WWII UXOs (unexploded ordnance) is actually quite common here. Experts say that up to 20% of all aerial bombs never exploded and an estimated 250,000 bombs are still out there. They usually turn up during construction work and are safely defused and disposed of, rarely do they ever explode. I remember only one other occasion when a drilling machine hit a bomb, which was burried under the tarmac of the German Autobahn (freeway) A3, killing the machine operator in 2006.

2 comments:

  1. I served in the Air Force in the states. Not that that makes me a hero.

    I know this is absolutely ridiculous to think, or wish. What if our leaders were required to go kill a couple of the enemy. Put our presidents, prime ministers in uniforms and shove them out of the plane.
    One thing that almost always makes it more enjoyable, when looking for a new job, is to find a company where the owner was or is, a driver. War should cost something to everyone, everyday.

    Im not sure what any of this has to do with what you posted. And today's "wars" are not the same as they were in the past.

    I dont know what im saying. I wish we (the U.S.) would end our war (2 wars) in the Middle East.

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  2. Hi Aaron,

    thank you for your comment.

    I agree, the decision makers should be made well aware of the consequences of their actions. And by that I don't mean analysis and talk. They should be put on the front lines in full combat gear if only for a day. Maybe, just maybe, they will understand the magnitude of such decisions.

    "Coalition" soldiers, and that includes German soldiers aswell, die every week in places that we have no business being in in the first place. Germany has been forced, by political pressure mind you, to participate in the war in Afghanistan. We have business of being there, we have no right to be there, and we don't want our troops to be there. All we want is to have our boys and girls back home, rather sooner that later. I'm sure many Americans see it the same way about their troops.

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