Originally Posted by |2enegade
How do the Germans and other nations once belonging to the Axis celebrate this day?
Unfortunately, they could not possibly celebrate it with the same degree of passion that we do, for when we celebrate we not only remember, but we thank too. We remember and thank those who laid their lives down for our nation, for the purpose of good to rise above evil. But unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the German veterans... Of course, the former axis nations can still remember for the sake of not forgetting, and can still thank the allies for releasing their nation from the grips of angst and terror, however, there most be a level of personal anguish for these people that they cannot thank their own veterans, just merely remember them as "those poor souls" who were brainwashed to lay down their lives for evil. Surely they cannot view their veterans as heros as we do ours, but by the same token, there must be some sort of emotional conflict if they were to thank our veterans for killing theirs (because, in essence and without frill, that is how the war was won). How must it feel for a German who lost his great-grandfather in the war to thank an allied soldier who possibly killed him? Of course, logic dictates that it was done for the best of all, but surely it cannot hold the same weight in gratitude that we do when we thank our veterans...
Every biography or memoir I've read written by front line soldiers are all the same. Irregardless of the political, ethnic, religious cause of the war, once the shooting starts and things turn ugly, the only bond that will keep a unit together and not descend into insanity is the one formed from comradeship. Brother helping brother survive the chaos. Of all the documentaries and interviews of veterans I've seen in the last couple of days, the thing that struck me the most is the lip service they pay to the cause of securing democracy or whatever the cause celeb is. Only when they speak of fellow soldiers and fallen comrades do you see real anguish, passion and sadness. They were thrust into war by powers out of their control and chose to kill the enemy not because they were nazis, or commies, or democrats, but because if they didn't, their buddies would get killed. Most often this was the motivation to take another human life as most people aren't natural born killers.
Renegade.....you asked how the Germans celebrate this day? I can't speak for the veterans but I pray it's in the exact same manner as any other soldier. To deny them this, is akin to reaching into their chest and ripping out their soul. Unconscionable. As for German citizens and those of German descent, again, I can't speak for them, but I, personally, swell with pride at their achievements on the battlefield and am epathetic to the point of tears at their personal and collective sacrifice. I have a close relative who endured the ordeal on the Eastern Front and an uncle who didn't survive. I think about this every day and still cannot grasp the magnitude of their experiences. I often think that it would be better to die in battle than to live with the memories for 60yrs. Tortured psyche indeed.
To dump on these veterans political guilt is pure, unpasteurized liquid bullshit.
I just wanted to respond to your first question, the rest is non-sensical.