I recently started going through boxes of family memorabilia, set aside many years ago when I was travelling continually and there wasn’t time to spend sorting, saving, and discarding. My father, who died almost exactly 25 years ago, was a World War II navy veteran, having served mostly in the Pacific and on Okinawa.
Like many who served overseas, he didn’t want to talk much about the war. Returning home in 1946, he just wanted to pick up the pieces of his life and move on. I was five when he came back, and I regret never having asked him more about his years away. I still have the Japanese rifle and bayonet he brought back, along with some of his uniform items (to be worn next by his great-grandson).
I never did learn the story behind this photo of my father, taken outside a destroyed gun emplacement, but are some things I just found that are worth sharing – first of all, a ‘surrender leaflet,’ dropped from the air over enemy troops; you may find its language interesting, particularly with respect to how male soldiers ought to dress. Also pictured is some U.S. Military Currency, used after the war ended.
Finally, a DVD recommendation about the last days of WWII in Europe: George Stevens was a noted Hollywood director and producer (Shane and The Diary of Anne Frank, among others) who during the war led a unit of filmmakers, photographers, writers and editors who documented the European theater of WWII. At the same time, while carrying out his official assignment for the army, he shot what we can only call his ‘home movies’ of the war. His son, George Stevens, Jr., produced this film, and it is a very different set of images from what was seen in movie newsreels and in the pages of Life magazine. This is a film worth owning. Once again, Amazon to the rescue.