Ask any of my friends and they will recognise that I have always been interested in history. Especially in the era they call “contemporary”. Most of it is centered around war. History that is, not the contemporary part specifically. And where most people with the same interest will dive into the major events, battle, combat, I like the edges, the envelop. That what is around what was seen as important. Soldiers resting in some village far behind the lines. Life in the cities. Mundane things happening.
I also recognise links to myself and the world we live in. Current US politics may seem unique, but are mostly a repitition on a theme. Just not very “American”. And the logical richness of increased requirements for military capability throughout the continents is also a common theme, once you step away from all the drama and emotions. Most technology spurts are linked directly to armies asking for “more” and “better”. In the end it is all about what drives us. Looking back, “war” is not incidental. We just learned a better, more economic way: deterrence. I hope.
Sometimes history touches me almost physically. As a kid I used to play around the abandoned wreck of a Sherman tank, mainstay of the allied troops in WW2. Later I learned that the vehicle was actually a training object for the army. Molotov cocktails thought to be able to stop advancing steel. And even more later, I was inducted into using a similar wreck to learn how to use “improvised devices”. And nowadays I read about IED’s. History and present time touching.
Somewhere on the timeline of this historical mess I used to shoot 8 inch grenades – by proxy, as I was an officer – at targets, being trained in the exquisite art of killing at a distance, without discrimination: artillery. And guess what? The targets were Sherman tanks. Or the rusted remnants of it.
So it was a pleasure to walk into one of those targets, now a centre piece in a museum. All of history going full circle.