Ken Burns master stroke when making historical documentaries continues with this series. By choosing several individuals and following them through the war period you get a sense of the sacrifice involved both on the home front and by those who actually served abroad during the war. This should be a valuable lesson to the generation of Americans today who feel no sacrifice, economically, professionally or socially is necessary to keep our nation great and our ideals from attack by those Islamic based terrorist groups that seek to undermine our standing abroad. President George W. Bush helped to create this apathy with his decision based largely around political considerations after September 11th to tell Americans to proceed as normal with their daily lives. The "Greatest Generation" as dubbed by Tom Brokaw didn't react this way after Pearl Harbor nor do the citizens of other Western Democracies who get drawn into unpleasant wars. When France, Germany and Italy were in the 1980s the subject of consistent terrorist bombings by the same types of groups who attacked the United States on 9/11/01 their citizenry rallied behind their flag and made real sacrifices to the way everyday life proceeded to fight off the terrorist threat.
"The War" comes out at a critical time in our history. With our Army demoralized and undermanned, our nation's security in peril and our enemies such as Iran and North Korea unchecked except by words by a weakened United States, you can walk the streets and find a generation in power both in Government and in Corporate America that is busy pursuing self realizing pursuits and a younger generation that knows nothing of its own nation's history and ideals and doesn't feel the need to protect these ideals against those who mean to it and ultimately us harm. Personally, I have made an effort to better understand the Middle East by reading several books on the Ottoman Empire and its collapse after World War I which led to the partition of many areas including the modern day Balkans, Iraq, Jordan, Israel and Syria. I also have recently signed up for Americorps and will use whatever opportunity comes my way to work to better my community whether through the Americorps program or through Community service through other outfits.
Americans of all stripes should be watching Ken Burns film and should be asking themselves "What can I do for my Country," as John F. Kennedy so eloquently put it in his Inaugural speech in 1960. America is great because America is good," has been throughout our history. America has always been great because unlike the imperialist European nations who exploited local populations our nation promoted self determination as a concept in our foreign policy and worked through international institutions and diplomacy to achieve means that met our ideals. Today this is lost on our nation as our President pursues a reckless foreign policy backed not simply because he has a group of "neo-conservative" Wilsonian backers and the Republican Party behind him but because of the continued apathy bordering on selfishness of the rest of the American population. This selfishness is even exhibited by many of those on the left who seek an disengagement of American interests from the Middle East and abroad without understanding the consequences of such actions and how that would undermine the American ideals and psyche going forward.
We live in a time where Americans of all stripes are disconnected from the concept of truly being an American. Ken Burns' film which has six more parts showing through next Tuesday on PBS is a necessary vehicle for brining some perspective to a lost generation.
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- I am the host of the Major League Soccer Talk and EPL Talk Podcasts and am frequent guest on other (world) football shows. I am also the publisher of various other websites including this one. I work in public/government relations in addition to my soccer work and have a keen interest in history, politics, aviation, travel,and the world around us.