Posted by: Jim E | June 24, 2010

WWII…The Pacific…part 2…Music…

My post of last week got me thinking a bit about that time…I spend too much time on the happenings in our world and about me most days…I guess I have to spend more time writing when the thoughts come…or they lose their meaning…

So let me take you back to that post…and lets see if my memory stands up to this task…

I was born February 3, 1942…that was a few months after Pearl Harbor…though I doubt this…I always think I heard on the radio President Roosevelt’s announcement to congress about the attack on Pearl Harbor…you know how it went: “Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941…a date which will live in infamy…the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”…now I know I probably didn’t really “hear” that announcement…though my mother was within two months or so of my birth…

But the truth is I have heard and read that speech so many times that I still have some trouble thinking I didn’t hear it (even before my birth)…but setting that aside…WWII has been very important in my life…in my growing up years…working years…and teaching history…and reading…I knew so many who served in the war…I remember the service stars in the windows of neighbors and my grandparents…my dad, my uncles and many friends served…I remember the families of those who died in the war…it was a special time…

I remember knowing airplanes in the war…see them flying overhead and naming them…most of this was after the war was over…I was 3, almost 4, when my dad was discharged…so most of my memories where from then on…in other words, not much…but soon after the war (1947?) I started school…I do remember then…and the music of the time…standards even today…

Glenn Miller’s big band was very popular at the time…and the song written in 1942…released just two months after Pearl Harbor…it’s Glenn Miller’s band…with Ray Eberle, Marion Hutton and the Modernaires…

14 – Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me)

(I hope this music comes through…it’s a bit tricky…but we will march on)…the war was new and not going well…but music was loved by all…and though all the news was bad on both the European and Pacific fronts…the country began to mobilize all its forces, both military and industrial…which would ultimately make the difference…and the songs of the era helped to establish the values our country was fighting for…

And in 1944, lots of songs about forced separation…many men and women were being mobilized and sent overseas…Martha Tilton sang a song that sent that message…”I’ll Walk Alone”…

18 – I’ll Walk Alone

These songs helped to unite and inspire this country during the war…many of them love songs or about love or waiting for a loved one to return…they were sung all over the world…and still are around today…in 1944 things still were not going well…thousands of men were being killed daily…but battles were finally being won…and many men were coming back after wounds they suffered in battle…in this song by Jo Stafford, who had sung with the “Pied Pipers”…now on her own…singing “Long Ago and Far Away”…a song of someone special returning even before the war was over…probably wounded…and the words: “the dream I dreamed was not denied me”…seems the feeling of them waiting…

16 – Long Ago (And Far Away)

And sometime in 1945 my Mom took my brother Jack and me by train from Minneapolis to San Francisco to meet my Dad when he was discharged from the Navy after the war in the Pacific was over…the best trains were being used by the military…so we went in a smelly, old wooden passenger car…with smoke coming off the engine…no heat or a/c…rats came along for the ride my Mom said…and when we got to California…we rented a small apartment…sand fleas, etc…(it was a different time you see)…and we waited for Dad…and then came back home…I just can’t imagine…with a 4 year old and a 7 year old back in that time…Mom was something…

And the song…by Harry James Band (he played trumpet) and the voice…Kitty Kallen…and the song…”It’s Been a Long, Long Time”…

And it had been a long, long time for so many…if you have read or seen some of what it was like at the time…these men and women had been away for years…and for many, great danger, fear…terror really…and now there was peace and coming home…and for our family everything started again…not all wonderful…but starting again…

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