The weekend of 14-16 September 2018 I was in Son, Netherlands for the Operation Market Garden (OMG) commemorations and living history for the 101st Airborne. Coming up this weekend in Arnhem, they will be commemorating the British aspect of OMG. As I was in the Airborne re-enactment camp, I spoke to many Dutch people about the stigma of war that still exists in society and families today. I spoke to many about the past, the choices that were made, and how we heal in the present and move forward.
My point of view is, the past is not all black and white or right or wrong or good or bad. It just isn’t one or the other. We live in a completely different time, our way of life is completely different than those who lived through WWII (or any other time period for that matter.) It is not ours to judge the past but to observe, research, understand, see the choices that were made in circumstances we cannot imagine. We were not there so who are we to judge?
What would it take for the stigma and secrets of the past to be brought into the light? Is it possible we can take one step into the light and talk about our families and their choices without fear of being cast out of society? What would that one step into the light change for us, the past, the present, and the future?
Are you brave enough to look into your dark past? Are you brave enough to take one step into a brighter future?
© 2018 World War II Research & Writing Center