Can We Stop the Stigma of History?

 

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...

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Travel Gives a Different Perspective of Our Soldier's History

eto germany travel wwii travel Jul 27, 2018
 

In June 2018 my husband and I took a trip to Germany so I could visit some World War II sites I was researching. We spent a day with Doug Mitchell, who drove us around all along parts of the West Wall, showed us the dragon's teeth, German bunkers, and filled our heads with history. It was a kind of gloomy day which was rather apt for the war theme for the day.

Three years ago I walked in the footsteps of my cousin James Privoznik, KIA 11 January 1945 near Bras, Belgium. I took his final burial flag with me to Europe and flew it over the Luxembourg Cemetery where he sleeps. That trip and walking in his footsteps changed my life in ways I could never have imagined.

Since that time I have walked in the footsteps of other family members and soldiers I am researching for clients who were unable to go to Europe. Walking in these places, seeing the past merge with the present, and the landscape over which they fought and often died, cannot be captured in words and pictures alone. It must...

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Are You Exploring the Entire Military Combat Experience?

I've spent more than 20 years in the fields of genealogy/family history and military history with a focus the last decade on World War I and World War II. I taught myself a lot where genealogy was concerned and attended classes and conferences. I participated in the community's professional genealogy education. Throughout everything I studied or read, the focus was on names, dates, places, sometimes historical context, but never on exploring the physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual side of family.

When I began researching in-depth both world wars, which led me to teach and write books on how to research any branch, there was no one to teach me what to do. No one in the country had written educational materials. Yes there were two very outdated books on barely researching Army service, but beyond that nothing existed. The few people who were starting to lecture on this were not going beyond the basics of "all the records burned and here are some online resources." They skimmed...

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