Start of World War II, 76 years ago today

Today we remember the beginning of World War II. It is measured as starting on September 1, 1939, when the Germans invaded Poland, but in truth, the war itself was a long time in the making, began by the the punishments imposed at the end of the “Great War,” fueled by the appeasements of the allies (France and England) and the closed-door policy of the USA, and incited by the spoils of war hoped for by Stalin with the partition of Poland. Still, we mark it as beginning this day, 76 years ago.

I was there. Not when it started, but where it started–I was there on Westerplatte 71 years later, in 2010, at 4:38 AM in the morning, on September 1st. I was there with thousands of others. I sang Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła, watched some re-enactments, heard the bells toll, and listened to the President of Poland speak, and the Archbishop lead a prayer. It was very moving, and I will never forget it.

I wrote about that experience here in my blog and later on I posted some pictures from that somber ceremony of remembrance. It is worth remembering, the sacrifice of a nation that started that day, and did not really end for nearly 50 years. It’s a story of a tenacious people, longing for freedom, holding on to an ideal, and not giving up, even when abandoned by her friends and allies. It’s a story to long to recount here, now. But a story worth remembering. And it started 76 years ago today, on Westerplatte, with the “official” beginning of World War II….  I remember.

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