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The War

We've been watching The War - (WW II - on PBS - a Ken Burns work). It is seven episodes which we originally Tivoed late in the summer but since the default was to keep 5 episodes we lost the first before we started watching (the consequence of Baseball) so we Tivoed it again during its reruns. It's pretty interesting although it's somewhat long (each episode is 2 or 2 1/2 hours). It is hard to figure out what is going on in some of the shooting scenes but I guess that is what is was like if you were there. They have various people talking about their memories interspersed with films of varying quality and Ken Burns effect stills explaining what was going on in the war.

Tonight (episode 3) although the main theme was the war in Italy ending with the taking of Rome there was a lot about segregation. In the Mobile Alabama shipyards the workers were segregated and the whites wouldn't let the negroes take skilled jobs. There were some bloody riots. There was also some more material about the Japanese internment camps and the eventual creation of an all Japanese American company (or battalion I don't remember which). One of the talkers was Daniel Inouye (senator from Hawaii); he was one of those soldiers. When he was down south at a training camp riding a bus he said he didn't know where he belonged - he thought it was the back but people told him to get up front with the whites.

They mentioned Bill Mauldin and I just looked at my copy of Up Front (1945) which was his writings while he was in the war illustrated with his cartoons. I remember when my mother brought it home. I was a little kid during the time but was certainly conscious of the war. We saved bacon fat, crushed cans, dealt with rationing but because my father was in the food business we had access to extra food. I apparently complained several times - what steak again! And there were blackouts to deal with. I remember my mother playing Salvo (battleship) on what we called "squared paper" with her friend Eleanor (whose husband was in the army in England) when sitting out on the porch and they'd talk about husbands of friends who were in the services. I don't remember that any of these people were killed or seriously injured. My father was a bit too old to be drafted.

This userpic is me in my ROTC uniform, - it was required at MIT when I was there.

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