All throughout school, students are taught about the world wars. In particular, World War II is talked about the most for many reasons. Millions of people lost their lives, ground breaking machinery and weapons were invented and it tore the world in two. I was taught all about the war but my patient summed this up the best: I was never taught how it felt. I was never told about how it felt to have your entire city blown up or how it felt going 5 years without a decent meal.
Pictured here is Kranenburg, Germany. I biked to this town this past Sunday and today I visited a town called Kleve. Both of these cities contain so much history in such a small space. There are still remnants of the war, stories being told and burial sites with soldiers from all over the world. There were bombs dropped, parachuters entering and lives lost and created.
I’m hopping on my soap box here but I feel like as much as America was impacted in the war, it does not compare to what was felt in Europe. Troops never marched our shores, overnight aerial bombings did not occur nearly as often and we didn’t have to bury our tin and metals so the Germans wouldn’t get them. I’m not undermining at all what America lost and gave but it was mind-blowing to see the long term impacts on the other side of the globe.
One of my favourite parts of doing home health rotations here is meeting people who lived through it. There is a couple, born in 1935 and 1936, who grew up post World War I and lived through all of World War II. The Netherlands is the border country to Germany and at one point, the country blew up their connecting bridge to stop the brigade. This couple met and fell in love in a time of turmoil. They still wanted to raise children after seeing how dark the world can be. I look forward to many more stories with them and absorbing as much as I can. It’s all about perspective and walking around in a living history book is one of the best ways to gain a new view.