From the Editor’s Notebook:
We have a Monday dateline for the Register. You know, it is the date of the newspaper which is printed at the very top of each page, including this one.
Why do we have a Monday date you might ask. Especially if you are reading this edition on Saturday.
Well, it has to do with the legal notices in the newspaper. We can furnish an affidavit that our newspaper is out for most folks to see by Monday, even though some can see it two days earlier than that, and some won’t get it for a day or two or three later because they live a ways away.
Why am I mentioning that fact? Because this year our Monday dateline means we come out on Veterans Day itself, Nov. 11, and this also means it is the official publication date of the annual Our Heroes magazine, which salutes our Faribault County veterans. It is included inside most area copies of this week’s Register.
As I have often mentioned many times, the Our Heroes magazine is one of our favorite, and most award winning, projects we do here at the Faribault County Register.
This year we have five Faribault County veteran’s stories and we hope you enjoy reading about each of them.
This year, like most, I wrote two of the stories in the magazine. After doing a lot of research on these two men, I feel a connection to them, despite the fact both men have passed away. One was killed in battle in World War II, dying while he was protecting the men in his unit. Bernard Hagge, of Elmore, was a true hero.
I was fortunate to have a lot of information about him because his nephew, George Huber, had saved many informative items, including clippings from local newspapers as well as letters Bernard wrote back home to his family.
All of it indicated that Bernard was a terrific young man, and that makes it a real shame he was killed at the age of 28.
The other man I wrote about was not killed or physically wounded in battle, but suffered some emotional wounds by what he witnessed at a German prisoner of war/concentration camp named Buchenwald.
Phillip Monson, of Frost, was a witness to some of the most terrible atrocities man has ever inflicted upon his fellow man. He definitely was impacted by what he saw, and was unable to talk about it until he met one of the survivors of that awful place, who turned out to be a relative of his.
It is quite a story.
But while doing some Internet research about Buchenwald Prisoner of War Camp (aka Concentration Camp) I came across some alarming facts.
People of my generation are aware of what was done at places like Buchenwald during the war. We didn’t live during the time of World War II, like our parents did, but we were born shortly after it was over and became part of what is called the Baby Boomers Generation.
We learned a lot about the war from our fathers and others who were only a few years past having been in it.
It was pretty fresh in everyone’s memory back then.
Now, it seems, those memories are fast disappearing.
A story in the Washington Post reported that two thirds (66 percent) of millennials, or the so-called Generation Y age group, did not know what Auschwitz is, or was. The answer, of course, is that it was the largest and most well known of the Nazi Germany concentration camps. And, 22 percent of those young folks did not know what the Holocaust was, which, of course, was the “extermination” of six million Jews by the Nazis during World War II.
But, it is not just the millennials; 41 percent of all Americans polled could not identify what Auschwitz is.
Before we all start asking if this information about World War II is still being taught in history classes in U.S. schools, it might be more of a case of non-interest. Today’s youth may think of World War II as ancient history. After all, 18-year-olds were not even alive yet to witness the events of 9-11 much less a war that started in 1941 and their great-grandfathers fought in. World War I was over 100 years ago, and World War II was over 70 years ago. That might be close to ancient history for some folks.
Perhaps that is the reason we think it is important to do projects such as the Our Heroes magazine. We feel it is important to keep these memories alive, as well as to honor the veterans who served our country in the Armed Forces in any capacity, whether in battle or not.
They all deserve to be honored on Veterans Day, as well as being thanked every day for their service.
And, we should especially remember those who gave that ultimate sacrifice, their lives.
Our reason to do so is summed up in the phrase on page three of this year’s magazine. “Lest we forget.”
I hope we never do forget…