Is there anybody who still cares about the welfare of others?
Updated: September 5, 2012 2:39PM
Channel 11 last week took some of the valuable time it could have devoted to infomercials, 70-year-old rock-and-rollers and Celtic whose-its to show Ken Burns’ richly informative and heartbreaking documentary series on World War II.
Don’t know why Channel 11 did this when it could have been running “Eat Your Way to Health and Wealth’’ or “Take Care of Your Liver and It’ll Take Care of You.’’
Maybe it was because Aug. 15 is the 67th anniversary of Japan’s surrender.
Whatever the reason, Channel 11 showed it. I watched it.
Watching, I began to think of Bernard H. Hagen Jr.
You probably never knew him or even heard of him. Why should you? He was dead not too long after he graduated from high school.
Pvt. Bernard H. Hagen Jr. was killed in Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He was a paratrooper. I came across a small story about him a few years ago when I was leafing through an old Pioneer Press newspaper.
Here’s a sentence from the story: “The family received a letter from Pvt. Hagen a few days after they had notice of his death, and in the letter he recalled his last furlough, spent at home about a year ago.’’
Perhaps you can understand how the Hagen family felt when they received this letter. I can’t.
Today, we have wars of our own and many more Bernard H. Hagens.
Hmmm. I seem to have written myself into a corner.
Is this going some place?
The Ken Burns series that set me to thinking about Bernard H. Hagen Jr. also made me ponder the concept of self-sacrifice. Perhaps I misinterpreted, but an underlying theme of the documentary seemed to me to be how people gave themselves — even unto death — for others, their comrades, their family, the cause of freedom.
And then I remember we have elections coming and how Congress is on vacation for more than a month, unemployment, foreclosure ...
What I don’t see is much self-sacrifice.
The welfare of others doesn’t seem to be very high on America’s to-do list.
Instead, I see fragments.
I wonder what Pvt. Bernard H. Hagen Jr. would think?