Friendship and Offer for the cause of democracy

Normandy

Normandy (Photo credit: seangraham)

In the previous posting Invasion of Normandy a day never to forget I opened talking about the demography, looking how in the previous century our regions managed to have a growing population.  World War I and World War II took care that many people got, earlier than expected, a place underneath the earth of this fighting world, getting the population numbers down a lot again without having a real disease killing many, except if you would call the madness of those wars  a disease of the mind.

In those wars people felt their connection and got into brotherhoods which were of  a lot of importance their whole life. Friends were made for life, though that life was often shortened very soon.

I am against fighting and taking up the arms. I did a civil service refusing to shoot at any human being, but I respect all those who do not mind carrying a weapon. Every person himself is responsible for the choice he makes. Also in the time of the chosen people of God they had armies and in the time of Jesus there were soldiers who had their job and converted into the Way, the Jewish sect of the followers of Christ, the seed of Christendom.

American troops in an LCVP landing craft appro...

American troops in an LCVP landing craft approach Omaha Beach 6 June 1944. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those who choose to carry a weapon or who had  or have no choice, like the devout Jews have not any more, are confronted with not so nice things of life where their and others life can be a in danger. At such dangerous moments the relationship between each other is very important. What we can hear from all those who went into the battlefields, be it World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Korea, Falkland  Islands, Iran, Iraq, or Afghanistan, one aspect was necessary to keep going and to survive, and that was the trust in each other and the friendship.

A 2010 study showed that camaraderie provides a protective effect that endures long after the war has ended.

Matthew Kahn, the study’s co-author and a fellow UCLA economics professor said in 2010:

“We’re not sure how it works, but somehow, being armed with close social bonds in the extremely stressful situation of battlefield combat has a protective effect that continues long after the fighting has ended,”

English: A Roman Catholic chaplain ministering...

A Roman Catholic chaplain ministering to Union soldiers during the American Civil War. Copyright long expired (more than 100 years old). Self-cut. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The study, which tracked the veterans for up to 68 years, constituted the first long-term look at the effect of unit cohesion on soldiers’ mortality and health at older ages. It is also one of the longest-running studies of the effect of human social bonds on extreme stress.

It showed that:

 “Men who went into battle with this emotional armor were much less likely in their late 50s and early 60s to fall victim to stress-related illnesses.”

Could this perhaps have been a conclusion by comparing the stress by the present population which has sky-rocketed. The high stress facto is in my view part of the way labourers are treated today. Office and factory workers often have become the new ‘slaves’ of the industrialists, banks and the men (or women) in power.

Previous research has shown that soldiers who fought in companies with men who shared similar characteristics — a common race, religion, ethnicity, socio-economic status or home-town — displayed a higher degree of loyalty to one another than their counterparts in more diverse companies. Diversity seemed to be a double-edged sword, making individuals less likely to be altruistic than they might be in a more homogeneous setting but also inspiring them to scale new intellectual heights and to explore new horizons. {The Social Face of War, 2009}

Photograph # B-157 Union Troops before Frederi...

Photograph # B-157 Union Troops before Fredericksburg May 1863-not Petersburg Virginia 1865 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lots of people keep forgetting that, though they might not like being exposed to people who are different, they benefit from the experience in the long run. It is not from those who are the same as us and think the same as us that we are going to learn most. Those with other ideas can challenge us. In the long term we can learn the most from those who are different.

It is a pity that it never seemed to be so easy when people of different origin got imprisoned.

Concerning the U.S. Civil War between 1861 and 1865 Dora L. Costa, a UCLA economics professor said:

Union soldiers, whether in prison camps or in the field, were the most loyal to men who looked like themselves — of the same ethnicity and occupation, from the same state or hometown, or of the same age or related by blood,”

For her by going back so far in time they’re getting at an effect that’s universal.

“This reaction to diversity may be hardwired into us.”

English: War Memorial, Gundagai, New South Wal...

English: War Memorial, Gundagai, New South Wales World War 1, World War 2, Korea, Vietnam, etc (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What I remember from those who went to fight in Vietnam and in the Falklands they told of their close contacts whereby some got such an understanding they could give each other understandable signals  without having to use words. There was a willingness to understand each other on all sorts of levels. About the social and sexual relations out of the battlefield I would not always agree. But I can come in their ‘mind of isolation’. they had to cope with “life-or-death choices” and had to face the fact that they could not be there any more the next day.

The researchers Costa and Kahn found that Union soldiers companies with the lowest amount of diversity — such as companies in which friends, relatives or neighbours served together or former slaves who served with former slaves from the same plantation — had the lowest desertion rates. The least diverse companies had one-third fewer desertions than more diverse companies with high morale or strong ideological commitments. this shows clearly how the connection of friendship is very important.

I would love to see studies about those soldiers in the first and second World War who came from all sorts of backgrounds and from all different cultures and ethnic groups.

From the study of the Union War the researchers found that the diverse companies were almost like a job training program, preparing them for improved economic opportunities down the line.

The study quotes from the journal of a Civil War captain whose personal experiences seem to reinforce this view:

 “I have always found comforting in battle the companionship of a friend, one in whom you had confidence, one you felt assured would stand by you until the last,”

Frank Hollinger wrote.

The build-up of Omaha Beach: reinforcements of...

The build-up of Omaha Beach: reinforcements of men and equipment moving inland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the World War II, Vietnam and Korea combats may have been many times more chaotic with very little leadership in certain groups, but the camaraderie within those units preserved the motivation of those in charge. Several witnesses let us know in their interviews with many sources that brotherhood fortified the soldiers against the terrible things they witnessed in those terrible wars. I do belief camaraderie has even tempered some of the bitterness may have got. Also what is important, and which we should not forget, is how those soldiers were treated afterwards and could keep in contact with each other. On that matter I think the United States has not treated very well those who went to Vietnam and they would probably have a bigger trauma than those who went to Iraq or Afghanistan. I am sure that many soldiers of that generation have witnessed things that made them occasionally regret their service.

For those men who have seen blood on a daily basis I wonder if they could accustomed to some of it. After many years I still sometimes dream of the blood and the pieces of flesh and body parts that flew around when I witnessed a pub blown up by the IRA. I even sometimes feel the flow of air of the moment of the explosion, and it is so many years ago. What for trauma’s did those soldiers who went to war have to carry on their shoulders?

All of those at war depended on one another to survive. They had to do what they could for each other. And I think in the modern wars the soldiers quickly learned from the situation that no matter the colour or background of the other, they had to co-operate and help each other to survive. One good thing (if you could say so) was that they often had nearly to sit on each other lip. Having to be a long time, day and night, with the same group of people for that long and each of their lives depending on the others doing their job, well, they had to learn to trust those people most.

Despite — or maybe because of — the inevitable despair of war, many soldiers experienced human connections like they had never known. Shannon Larsen who went to combat in the Gulf War Desert Storm for four months, says in an interview:

“My unit was 140 people, and to this day, I keep in touch with half of them,” she says. “Joe, my gunner, and I are friends on Facebook. And Rusty, my driver, is one of our good friends. And his son is one of my daughter’s special friends.”  {Touching stories in times of war; Camaraderie In Combat; By Jennifer Koski}

A half-century ago, when retired soldiers went to their first reunion of the 30th Infantry Division — soldiers who landed at the beaches of Normandy and fought across France and Germany — they were surrounded by 1,000 other veterans. In 2013 there were only  50 Army First Lt. Frank Towers could find. Towers said in 2013:

“Age has taken its toll on us. A lot of our members have passed away, and many of them who are left are in health situations where they can’t travel.” {World War II reunions ‘a matter of camaraderie’ for aging veterans}

The coming generations should take care that those veterans their fear that their service will be forgotten after they are gone will not be justified.  It is very good we can find many soldiers their written memoirs, and that there are several reunion groups which have websites, magazines and other publications in which they recount their stories.

The world may not forget what happened and how some ‘lunatics’ or ‘disturbed minds’ could get the world nearly on its knees, begging in bloodshed. Too many people lost their life and too many families were broken with grief for many years, not to say for their whole life.

In that “world of lunacy” men and women had to do all they could to keep people on their feet, aiming to bring freedom for all around them. With their bond they managed to survive and to go forwards there where there did not see any light in the darkness.

For them who got some time in that tantrum of madness and forgot themselves, shouting perhaps because of a lot of fear, barking like wild dogs, they went forwards, surrounded by a noise that was so powerful they at the end could not hear it any more.

It is for those who now in this time of peace we can find a duvet of bravery to cover their hard work, that we should remember that without their efforts we would not be here today where we stand now. God bless their souls.

Let us remember all those who could not make it to see a united European Union, where peace and unity was made possible so that we can find today some generations which had not to face the cruelty of war.

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  • Battlefield camaraderie yields long-term dividends for veterans, study finds (eurekalert.org)
    The benefits of wartime camaraderie extend far beyond the battlefield, a new UCLA study of U.S. Civil War veterans suggests.Veterans who served in military units characterized by a strong esprit de corps were much less likely decades later to die of a stroke or heart condition than veterans from less cohesive companies, two UCLA economists have found.

    “On the battlefield, you’d expect your buddy to have your back,” said Dora Kosta, the study’s lead author and a UCLA professor of economics. “But the fact that camaraderie provides a protective effect that endures long after the war has ended is a new and surprising finding.”

    “We’re not sure how it works, but somehow, being armed with close social bonds in the extremely stressful situation of battlefield combat has a protective effect that continues long after the fighting has ended,” said Matthew Kahn, the study’s co-author and a fellow UCLA economics professor. “Men who went into battle with this emotional armor were much less likely in their late 50s and early 60s to fall victim to stress-related illnesses.”

  • Battlefield camaraderie yields long-term dividends for veterans, study finds (esciencenews.com)
    Having a friendly shoulder to cry on at the end of the day also may help dissipate stress hormones, Costa said.”If you actually see people being killed, your comrade can say, ‘No, no. It’s all right. It’s not your fault.’ “
  • Veterans See Red as Jane Fonda Tapped to Speak to UCLA Grads (joemiller.us)
    It was Fonda’s journey to Vietnam, as American soldiers were dying in the jungles of Southeast Asia and the nation was becoming increasingly disillusioned with the war, that veterans like Callas will never forget — or forgive. Fonda famously posed near a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun. Although she has apologized since, many veterans believe she helped lift the enemy’s spirits while demoralizing those of young Americans.
  • Legion Scotland: Veterans back new scheme which aims to ease transition from battlefield to civilian life (dailyrecord.co.uk)
    Legion Scotland have launched a scheme to provide our 410,000 ex-servicemen and women with friendship and support.Armed Forces personnel are used to working in dangerous environments in close-knit units where everyone looks out for each other.

    But many struggle to adapt to a world in which they are bombarded with demands such as accessing benefits, education or ­registering with a GP.

    The new service, which has been awarded £10,000 from the Scottish Government’s Scottish Veterans Fund, will point former soldiers, sailors and air force personnel to a network of befrienders.

    They will also help them to overcome mental health problems and assist finding jobs, benefits and housing.

  • World leaders gather in France to mark 70 years since Allied forces poured on to Normandy beaches in D-Day landings. – @cnnbrk (cnn.com)
    President Barack Obama paid tribute Friday to the U.S. service members who “defied every danger” to pour onto the beaches of Normandy 70 years ago in defense of liberty.

    His remarks at the American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, which overlooks Omaha Beach where so many fell, are part of a series of solemn events to commemorate the D-Day landings in northern France.

    Chief among them is an elaborate international ceremony on the stretch code-named Sword Beach, in Ouistreham, for which world leaders and veterans took places in stands set up on the sand.
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    Obama, speaking earlier at the American Cemetery, said he was honored to be there “to pay tribute to the men and women of a generation who defied every danger: among them, our veterans of D-Day.”

    Lengthy applause rang out as the U.S. President said he was humbled by the presence of some of those veterans at the ceremony.

  • Global Times Editor Apologizes to Chinese Veterans Over Online Post (sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com)
    Hu Xijin, the editor of Global Times, a newspaper owned by the People’s Daily Group, wrote on his Sina Weibo account on Wednesday that he had spoken with some veterans who said that soldiers assigned to such squads had to be guarded at night to prevent desertions. The People’s Liberation Army Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese military, responded that such an assertion was “nonsense.”
  • Explore day in the life of a Civil War soldier (hispanicbusiness.com)
  • Falklands to mark liberation from Argentine occupation on Saturday 14 June (en.mercopress.com)
    To mark the anniversary of the liberation of the Falkland Islands from Argentine occupation in 1982, a program of activities has been arranged for Saturday 14 June 2014, beginning with a Thanksgiving Service to be held at Christ Church Cathedral commencing at 9.45 am, according to a release from Gilbert House.
  • Exploding the myths of D-Day (cnn.com)
    For many people, D-Day is defined by the bloodshed at Omaha — the codename for one of the five beaches where Allied forces landed — and the American airborne drops. Even in Germany, the perception is still that D-Day was a largely American show; in the recent German TV mini-series, “Generation War,” there was a reference to the “American landings” in France.

    But despite “Band of Brothers,” despite “Saving Private Ryan,” despite those 11 photographs taken by Robert Capa in the swell on that morning of June 6 1944, D-Day was not a predominantly American effort. Rather, it was an Allied effort with, if anything, Britain taking the lead. Yes, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme Allied commander, was American, but his deputy, Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder was British, as were all three service chiefs. Air Marshal Sir Arthur “Mary” Coningham, commander of the tactical air forces, was also British. The plan for Operation Overlord — as D-Day was codenamed — was largely that of Gen. Bernard Montgomery, the land force commander. The Royal Navy had overall responsibility for Operation Neptune, the naval plan. Of the 1,213 warships involved, 200 were American and 892 were British; of the 4,126 landing craft involved, 805 were American and 3,261 were British.

  • 70 Years Later, Minn. D-Day Paratrooper Returns To Normandy (minnesota.cbslocal.com)
    Buddies and brave soldiers who never got the chance to come home and raise families — or grow old playing ball. It’s for them that Daniel asks that we teach all future generation to never forget.“Do you know anything about a place called Normandy? And ask them what these soldiers were doing there in the first place,” Daniel said, tearing up.

    Besides going back to Normandy, Daniel also made a trip to Nottingham, England where he thanked the English people. He said without their resolve in holding off Hitler, the D-Day invasion would never have happened.

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About Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".
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