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Did parent(s) ever explain war to you as a kid/teen?


shootingstar
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Well, as kids we saw the tv images of Vietnam War. Then it was the Holocaust photos of WWII on TV and in books.

I think my parents didn't bother to figure it out for us. I don't they knew much about Nazi Germany. Not really. Nor did they ever protect us from war images.

Understand my parents lived through major political revolution, invasion/war with Japanese when they grew up.  From some Chinese-Canadian friends, the Japanese  tortured villagers, etc. A  close friend, her father a journalist in China, was jailed. It affected  profoundly. He died  by suicide here in Calgary about 15 yrs. ago.  The very old immigrants here in Canada don't talk about this.

My parents grew up in Chinese modern history, where it  was growing trend that it was  wrong to raise wealthy girls by binding their feet, then the struggle to value your girl baby/girls in your family when later Communists would tax on a family for child 2, 3, 4, etc.  They escaped from Communist China in 1950's. They each individually  lied, going across the border into HK, my father in 1951, my mother in 1957. Do understand some people from mainland  China, were swimming for freedom to HK. Just like some people climbing the Berlin Wall and not get shot.

There wasn't much explanation for us re TV terrible images...except each of us individually read library books about history etc. We also on our own read about China's modern history. None of this taught was in high school at the time. Did I feel damaged as a child/teen? No.  We just knew our parents' life was so different from Canada. In some ways, unimaginable. It humbled us abit. Probably has propelled all of us to  do better.

It probably explains why my parents just were happy in ...Canada. They didn't talk much about the harder parts of their young lives.

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Having been in two wars and forced into camps by the Japanese we got first hand accounts of war by my parents experiences.  My oldest brother was also in the Nam when I was a young so it weighed heavy on my parents.  

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“Duck and cover” drills crawling under desks in elementary school. Not that it would do any good in a nuclear attack. So much for growing up in Florida during the Cuban misle crisis. At least I was in Jacksonville, while wife grew up in Miami.

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As a side note, daughter’s townhome housing complex in Switzerland has a bomb shelter, and it continues to be required (as well as solar) for all new construction.

More local, many of you travel through through Orlando International Airport and notice the call letters “MCO” on your ticket and baggage. Those were/are the original letters assigned to the air field, then known as McCoy Army Air Base. As a Realtor, I learned that the former military housing had bomb shelters built into them. Basically, a reinforced room with no windows in the middle if the house off the central hallway.Today, if not used for storage, the popular conversion is a small computer room.

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My mothers father was gassed by the Germans so I only knew a bed ridden man who had lung issues and kidney failure from it.  My fathers father was in Germany in WW2 and lost a few fingers to injuries and had several scars from bayonet wounds. They didn't talk much abut wars, they spoke more about the Great Depression and living through that with young families.  My only exposure was Cold War flying DEW line intercepts in the Arctic.  I have been to several parts of the world shortly after wars and have seen the results though.

 

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I have led a safe and sheltered life here in this wonderful country, and really know nothing of the horrors of war.

Whatever I have seen of war was from the safety and comfort of my living room, or from the WWI vets who would visit the school when I was a kid.

I was just shy of 9 during the Cuban missile crisis, and I remember the family huddling around the radio listening to programs about what to do if we should hear the air raid sirens.

(We did not have a TV at the time)

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As a kid in the 1950's, we had air raid drills in school where the churches, fire halls, etc. all sounded their bells and sirens.  We had to go into the hallway, sit with our backs to the walls, and put our heads between our knees.  We knew what war was: a lot of the kids in 1st, 2nd, 3rd grade didn't know if it was a real air raid/nuclear bomb or not and some wet their pants.  We used to joke that we were told to stick our heads between our legs so we could kiss our butts goodbye.

Additionally, most of the fathers of the kids I grew up with had served in the military in WW2 or Korea.  My father was in America's first modern commando force, Darby's Rangers, and I learned what war and face-to-face killing was like from him, though he didn't like to talk about the gruesome stuff and I had to drag it out of him.  I also learned from the fathers of other kids about fighting, first-aiding, concentration camp liberations, etc: at one camp, "Mr. Larry" who drove us and his kids to elementary school each day, said the American soldiers in the unit he was with had to threaten to shoot the concentration camp prisoners because they kept raiding the food bins, but their stomachs were so shrunken they'd die from eating too much.  Some bricks of old WW1 chocolate were found somewhere, and it was heated as a soup to start their stomachs growing back to normal.

In 1962, we saw President Kennedy on TV telling us the Soviets were putting missiles in Cuba and America was blockading the island. A Soviet fleet was heading toward the American fleet. The American fleet pulled in closer to Cuba to give the Soviets more time to come to their senses and turn around.  Being in one of the largest American port cities and 35 miles from Washington, D.C., we waited for an atom bomb to hit us.  Finally, the Russian fleet turned around and sailed away from Cuba.

At the same time, after WW2 and Korea, there were a lot of military surplus stores with cheap, cool stuff, and most of us boys had canteens, belts, etc. and played war games in the neighborhoods, parks or woods.

Then came Vietnam.  The North Vietnamese could cross the Demilitarized Zone and attack South, but Americans weren't allowed to cross it and attack north.  Friends were coming back from service there and telling us stories of not being allowed to fight properly.  One, in artillery, told us they had zeroed in on a Viet Cong unit in the woods, so they came out of the woods and sat on the road: they had learned the Americans weren't allowed to shell the road.

That kind of idiocy, that led to year after year after year of war, is what turned so many against it.

 

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11 hours ago, shootingstar said:

Did parent(s) ever explain war to you as a kid/teen?

Probably not.

As a kid in elementary school, I was always reading books about WWI or WWII.  My friends and I also had large collections of army men and would stage battles. My model kits were often of two varieties - sports cars or war machines (tanks or battleships/destroyers or fighter planes).  We saw plenty of TV shows and movies around war. Also, with school, they "taught" history which was mainly wars, inventions, kings/queens, and explorers.  My parents, though, weren't really too engaged in that sort of stuff.  For school, if it wasn't math or science, my dad wasn't helping, and my mom was more in the regular support role of getting us properly clothed, fed, and to school.   

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I don't know if this counts but in elementary school I crawled under the fence, sprinted across the neighboring high school ground to the St John River where they were dismantling a navy ship. They met me at the gangplank and gave me a genuine Army helmet. I then sprinted back and ditched it in the bushes before climbing under the fence. Someone tattled on me and I had to go visit the nun in the principal's office. :angry: After school, ran back to retrieve the helmet then caught the bus home. :happyanim:

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3 hours ago, Tizeye said:

“Duck and cover” drills crawling under desks in elementary school. Not that it would do any good in a nuclear attack. So much for growing up in Florida during the Cuban misle crisis. At least I was in Jacksonville, while wife grew up in Miami.

Yeah, except I was in Buffalo. Dunno what targets there might have been then.

Saw Nam on the nightly news. FWIW, I remember the riots at the DNC convention in '68.

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