Do you remember where you were when . . .
President Kennedy was assassinated?
The Challenger exploded?
Planes hit the Twin Towers in New York City?
You can probably easily call up your surroundings when these cataclysmic events happened.
But you most likely don’t remember May 8, 1945, VE Day, marking the end of World War II, simply because it happened 77 years ago.
Aunt Ruthie’s Diary
My Aunt Ruthie noted the day the Allied forced accepted German’s surrender, about a week after Hitler had committed suicide.
Transcription: At 9 A.M. Truman made an official proclamation of victory in Europe. Some places shut down and had holiday, some had hilarious celebrations, but it is estimated that a very large % went to church to pray. 4 visitors . . .
This week we watched a PBS Home Video titled the 1940s House (available from the Jacksonville Public Library) in which a modern English family recreates domestic life during wartime in the 1940s.
Three generations of the Hymers family, father, mother, their daughter and her two sons, aged 10 and 7, participate in the time-travel experiment, in which they learn to exist with “ever-diminishing rations and build and take refuge in an air raid shelter” in their back yard.
The video periodically cuts to a ‘war cabinet,’ of historians and scientists who monitors the family’s progress and provides the viewer with a realistic context for the era.
Though family members in the video know the military threat is metaphorical, not real, they suffer trauma in ways similar to those documented during the Blitz in London. Watery soup and no soap wear on the nerves of the family, the women especially, who had to keep the flames alive in a coal-fired cook stove and launder clothes on a washboard.
Their spirits were lifted once when an American family unexpectedly sent them a care package with treats.
The man of the household, Michael Hymers, celebrated the successful end of the 3- month-long experiment by buying a vintage Prefect, a 1940s Ford model adapted for the United Kingdom.
This week on December 7, 1941, we remember the Japanese attack on the US naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, an occurrence that inspired this post along with pages from Ruthie’s diary.
* * * * *
What other memorable days do you remember from your country’s history?
Do you keep a diary?
What stories (told or written) have other family members shared with you?