The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Vince Gisriel Jr., Tribune News Service
During World War II, young couples in love, separated due to military service, had very few options to communicate with one another. There was no internet or Facebook, and no cell phones, Skype or FaceTime. Most men serving in the armed forces sent word back home by handwritten letters. Their girlfriends and spouses sent word from home by letters, as well.
Like so many Americans during the war, our parents, Martha and Vince Gisriel Sr., both from Baltimore, endured the pangs of separation and the uncertainty of not knowing how the other was doing. Sometimes, it was weeks before they heard from the other. In spite of this dilemma, our parents made up for it by writing nearly 1,200 letters between them for the two years of their separation.
After months of intensive training, our father was sent to England to serve in the 8th Air Force in March of 1944. He was a bombardier on a B-17 and flew 35 missions over Germany and occupied Europe. He returned stateside in September of that year.
During his time overseas, one particular letter he wrote to our mother stands out. It was dated June 5, 1944, and began by wishing his bride a happy anniversary, for they were married one year earlier. He only wrote a half page when he abruptly stopped. Three days passed before he had the opportunity to finish the letter, on June 8, 1944.
He wrote: “You are probably wondering what happened between the 5th & 8th. Well darling you will have to forgive me for not writing. Right in the middle ... I was called on to perform my most important feat of this war, and I’ve been going ever since. I’ll have a lot to tell you when I get back, but can’t mention anything at the time. You might even be proud of me. ... You do forgive me for not writing those 3 days, don’t you. I think you realize I had something important to do.”
Important is an understatement, for it was not a simple matter of pausing the letter to run down to the PX to pick up shaving cream or a pack of cigarettes. No, he was called upon to fly three missions on June 6, 1944 — D-Day — in support of our landing forces on the beaches of Normandy and to demolish Hitler’s communication system.
And when he finished, he picked up right where he left off — writing a love letter to our mother. On that day, he also learned that his first child had been born nearly two weeks earlier. Communication had been suspended leading up to the invasion. The sacrifices and hardships that our parents endured during the war cannot be overemphasized. However, they were just one of millions of couples all over the world who shared similar situations.
We are very proud of our father, and the role he played in the war effort. We are also very proud of our mother who waited and prayed for his safe return. One cannot forget the sacrifices of those who stayed at home and offered unending love and support for those fighting so far away. It was those at home who gave inspiration to our service members to fight hard with a reason to hurry back.
As we commemorate the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, which led to the liberation of France and the beginning of the end of Hitler’s atrocities, let us remember the sacrifices of so many of our American service members and our allies, as well as the sacrifices of an entire generation that came before us.
Facebook, Twitter and Google have been under fire all over the world for not doing enough to police their platforms for misinformation. The Singaporean government thinks it has a solution: a law that imposes jail time and hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential fines for posting or failing to correct what it calls “online falsehoods” that harm the public interest.
Not to express sympathy for Mark Zuckerberg, but Facebook has reached the point where it just cannot win. Ever. Period. On Thursday, the company announced that it was permanently banning a handful of people who had used Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram to push reprehensible notions into the world.
In the modern world of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and many other apps that I also don’t use there seems to be an increasing number of people insulting each other, often anonymously. An insult, even just one word can cause so much damage. Most insults are intentional although perhaps perversely
Conservatives remain convinced that the tech industry is biased against them. They point to evidence that Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube are staffed disproportionately by liberals, a fact that nobody seriously denies. In a fascinating essay for the New Atlantis, Adam White argues that there is a deep alignment between their corporate culture and the assumptions of modern liberalism.
Theresa May never seemed to appreciate the importance of tempo in politics. She was not good at surprising, disrupting and confusing her opponents. Boris Johnson has learned from her mistakes.
What happens to a democracy when people stop talking to one another about what matters to them and the country? When people are afraid to speak their minds because they fear the personal blowback likely to come their way? Or worse,
The other day I saw a report of an airstrike hitting a medical facility in Idlib, killing a paramedic and an ambulance driver. Not a legitimate military target, but a medical facility. Then, shortly after, an airstrike hit again.