WWII will always be a very personal war for me, even though I wasn't born until long afterwards. I grew up in a family where everyone was powerfully affected by it.
My father, and my seven uncles all served during WWII.
My uncle Sig was at Pearl Harbor during the attack. He said they were shooting at the planes with pistols and rifles. He was also part of the mop-up crew on Ie Shima, where the Japanese government actually surrendered to the U.S. Unfortunately, the mop-up operation on Ie Shima involved a large number of Japanese civilian casualties, and my uncle was never the same afterwards.
My 6 other uncles, who served in Europe, had very different experiences. Since they were liberating occupied people, they were greeted as heroes. They returned from the war with the heroic sense of having accomplished something great.
My father was a dentist in a POW camp for German officers in Georgia: "Ich bin ein Jude! Open wide!".
All but a few members of my family who lived in Europe when the war began were exterminated - Possibly more than 30. Two, who met at Auschwitz, were married after the war and relocated to Israel, where their children and grandchildren live now. I discovered a few years ago that I have a large family in Mexico, due to a great-uncle who married into a Mexican family!
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