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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/2/16

The "extraordinary sense of loss from war."

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Russia marks V-Day: .Immortal Regiment. marches through Red Square Hundreds of thousands of people took part in a march of the .Immortal Regiment. in Moscow on Saturday, walking through the capital's Red Square to ...
Russia marks V-Day: .Immortal Regiment. marches through Red Square Hundreds of thousands of people took part in a march of the .Immortal Regiment. in Moscow on Saturday, walking through the capital's Red Square to ...
(Image by CCTV News, Channel: CCTV News)
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March of the Immortal Regiment

On occasion one comes across a written passage so stunning yet simple it catches the eye. In this instance it was something author Gilbert Doctorow wrote [1] that sets apart Russians and Americans.

Regarding Russia he wrote, "every family in the country lost members to the WWII effort. Every one."

"This extraordinary sense of loss from war is something that sets Russian consciousness apart from American consciousness".

Think about it. In WWII the Soviet Union lost 27 million military and civilians to the war. The US suffered 420, 000 mostly military casualties and none on its soil. There is no comparison in the sense of loss suffered by the Russians. This in no way is meant to diminish the sense of loss felt by family members in the US who did lose loved ones during the war.

As Doctorow points out during this year's Victory Day parade in Moscow on May 7, there'll be "The so-called 'March of the Immortal Regiment' on which ordinary citizens carry photographs of their own family heroes from WWII: fathers, grandfathers, mothers and grandmothers who fought on the front or worked at defense positions behind the lines".

In stark contrast here in the US we have Memorial Day when Americans head for the beach or have a backyard barbecue. Oh there's the obligatory speeches by politicos but no collective outpouring of the American people recognizing the "extraordinary sense of loss from war".

If there is any recollection of that long ago war it's "we won it".

And just to show "official" Washington's disconnect, last year when Russian President Vladimir Putin invited President Obama and other world leaders in Europe to attend the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in WWII he was snubbed-though China, India among 30 other countries did attend.

Essentially here in the US there is little recognition of Russia (USSR) being an ally during WWII, much less contributing to the defeat of Nazi Germany.

Yet truth be told without the Russian's beating back and eventually crushing Hitler's vaunted German Wehrmacht (army)on its soil the war could have been lost.

Of course this is not the history we're taught in America's schools-at least not the public schools this writer attended. Here we pretty much won the war alone with Russia (USSR) given little more than an asterisk as an ally.

So in America there is no "extraordinary sense of loss from war", particularly now with less than 1% of the population actually volunteering to fight in America's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Of the 5,000 casualties suffered most were from the inner city or rural small towns.

As for the "global war on terror", Americans may have been made fearful of terrorists and terrorism but certainly there is no "extraordinary sense of loss from war".

No...most Americans have been spared that "extraordinary sense of loss from war".

That may be why we tolerate and accept so much war.

[1] "Russia Rises From the Mat", by Gilbert Doctorow, "Information Clearing House", May 1, 2016

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