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National World War II Memorial, Washington D.C. (National Park Foundation)
Stone monuments are symbols of flesh and blood sacrifice by real human beings
It may be hard to imagine a time when our entire country, and much of the free world, was united in a common cause. In 1945, the Allied nations were battling Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in the final year of the most destructive war in human history.
The optimism created by the June 1944 invasion of France and advances toward the German frontier was dashed by the surprise German offensive in the Ardennes in December. Despite fighting a two-front war, Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany were determined to defend their homeland to the very end.
In the Pacific Theater, Japanese resistance became even more fanatical as American, British, Australian, and Chinese forces closed in on Japan. Even bloodier battles lay ahead.
The war cry of the previous year, “End the War in ’44,” became “Home Alive in ’45” as the new year began.
Experience the final year of World War II as it was written on the pages of the La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse County Record, West Salem Nonpareil Journal/West Salem Journal, and Bangor Independent.
Many people made contributions and sacrifices, both in the armed forces and on the home front, to defeat the Axis powers. We should remember them all as heroes doing their part to save the world.
In the Service: United States Army Air Force 19th Bombardment Group, February 1943, Pyote, Texas. (New York Times, 2019 May 5)
On the Homefront: Two women possibly working on manufacturing a military camera for an aircraft. (National Archives, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library)
World map: (Geology.com)
More About It: Rishi Sharma interviewing World War II veteran William H. Hahn in Los Angeles. (John Rogers, "Teen dedicates life to finding World War II combat veterans," Washington Post, 2016 November 11, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/teen-dedicates-his-life-to-finding-interviewing-wwii-combat-vets/2016/11/11/9b223372-a85c-11e6-ba59-a7d93165c6d4_story.html)