Mandan News

Remembering D-Day and the possible lesson

Observations of a News Editor
By Dustin White

To be perfectly honest, I am one who is opposed to war. For me, the ideal outcome during WWII is that the United States never would have had to enter the war as there was no war to enter. The problem, as we all know though, is that there was a war, and it could not be ignored.

Looking back, one can point out many ways in which the war could have been avoided, but hindsight is twenty twenty. The fact was that the world was at war, and it was something that demanded the attention of the United States.

While I am opposed to war, in a situation that the world was faced, I can see that action was needed. Things had been allowed to move to a point in which millions of individuals were being exterminated, and a dictator had the means to destroy much more.

Even though the United States was not perfect in its conduct, and one can fault them for having waited for so long to enter into the war, entering into the war was the correct decision, regardless of one’s view of war.

Now, that may be a big claim, but it is one that I do have to stand by. Today, standing in a very different context, we can look at the events of WWII, and try to rationalize why it was not our battle to fight, at least with Germany, the end result of that thought process falls flat.

Here, in the United States, we were relatively safe. The war was being fought across an ocean. Up until the attack on Pearl Harbor, one may think that our country was not being physically affected by the events in Europe.

Similar to today though, the world that people were living in was a global society. It may not have been as strongly interconnected as our own world is, but that does not detract from how these countries were bound to each other. If Europe failed, the United States would have felt the reverberations from the fall.

I think this is something that many people fail to see. It is easy to see the United States as an entity alone; one that does not need to rely on others. It is a view point that is often fostered within school, and popular public discourse. That the United States is intimately intertwined with many others, and suffers when seemingly less powerful, or important countries do, is an idea quite foreign to many.

As the saying goes though, no human is an island. The United States does not stand alone, but is one among a crowd of many. In being so, the United States, or more specific, the citizens of the United States, have a duty to the other citizens of the world. Because really, that is what we all are: citizens of a global society.

This can be a difficult idea to subscribe to, as it can be quite difficult to relate to those who are different from us. People are naturally attracted to others of a like mind as they share a more apparent common bond. If we dig a bit deeper though, we can all find similarities with each other, which is increasingly necessary as our world becomes more connected.

As we move forward, it does become more important to see how the cultures of the world, how the countries of the world, are directly affected by each other. Today, we can look around and see many nations in important struggles. As we did for so long during WWII, it may seem best to just turn a blind eye and ignore the situation. After all, we in the United States have our own problems. At the same time though, there is something we can learn from the past.

By waiting, and ignoring, we can be put into a position that the only possibly outcome appears to be war. The war in Europe didn’t all of a sudden start, but required a series of steps to be fully instigated. Germany wasn’t hiding what they were doing, but they were able to succeed because others just looked the other way, as it wasn’t them who were seemingly being directly affected. Looking back though, we can see how such an idea was incorrect, as we were all affected.

Today, we are still affected. The effects of WWII are still present, as are the lessons. One of the most important lessons that I see is that when others suffer, it is also our suffering. While the physical harm may not be done directly to us, with our society being so connected, it doesn’t take much to find someone who is the one who is being directly harmed.

As people become more free to choose were they live, and to escape the oppression they may face in other countries, it won’t be long until we all are more directly affected by the horror that happens in the world. Then, the true impact will seem much more real to many. At the same time, it may be too late for many.

So, even though we were late in throwing our hat into the arena during the second World War, we don’t have to make the mistake again. We can learn from our past, and hopefully make the future much better.