From the writing desk of Christine Mazurk
The History Channel featured WW II in HD on Memorial Day.
My husband and I were riveted for hours. These were films - in color - that had never been seen by the public. President Roosevelt wouldn't allow them to air because of the graphic nature of the films. Some of the history captured in these films was taught in school, but much of what we saw was not.
Both of our fathers served in WW II, my husband's for the USA, my father for England. When I was in my twenties, I learned that my father's troop secured Tunisia in North Africa, before pushing the Italians back through Sicily. Like most soldiers, my father didn't like to talk about his experiences. I wouldn't be here today if he hadn't served on that mission, for he met my mother while stationed in Tunisia.
We saw footage of things we'd only heard about during our stay on Guam. The Mariana Islands to this day show signs of the war; tanks remain off shore below the surface of the water. Machine guns, canons, and other heavy artillery can still be seen while exploring. The caves where the Japanese hid show remnants of that time. We visited the Banzai Cliff Memorial on Saipan and heard the story of the Japanese civilians jumping to their death because they were told the American soldiers would torture and kill them, but to see it caught on film was shocking.
The island of Saipan was secured by the Marines on July 9th, 1944. Three days later, at the northern end of Saipan known as Marpi Point, the Americans tried to coax the civilians out of hiding to give them fresh water and communicate that they were now safe. Entire families lined up above the 800 foot cliffs, the older children pushing the younger ones. The mothers then pushed the older children, and the fathers pushed the mothers before jumping themselves. More than 1000 civilians killed themselves as Marines watched in horror, unable to stop the carnage.
Surviving soldiers were interviewed, their stories narrated by younger actors to depict the years at war.
Tragic? Yes. Graphic? Yes, it was the war. Fascinating? Yes, history was captured in living color. The history books only hold a portion of what truly happened.
Until next week. Christine