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What’s in a date?

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“When did the war begin?” More than seven decades since World War II’s conclusion, the answer would seem simple enough. This December 7, Americans will mark 80 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, when the Japanese surprise strike thrust America into the war. But ask a Russian, and you’ll hear of June 22, 1941, when the Nazi war machine plunged eastward across Russian lines. A European? September 1, 1939, when Poland stood alone in the face of the war’s opening salvo. And on and on.

Where you stand depends on where you sit. This is the wisdom of Miles’ Law, which teaches that each of us gleans our own perspective of the world around us, based largely on where we’re situated —in terms of geography, identity, and our place in society. Perhaps nowhere is this truer than in the case of historical memory and WWII. Our individual and collective remembrances are as much a function of hard, historical truths as they are of carefully constructed national and familial myths.

And sometimes, when these remembrances come into conflict, it is the obligation of new generations to reconcile them; to discern a newer, truer story that unites us, rather than dividing us. Truth is rarely black and white – containing shades of gray, informed by a panoply of experiences, shared........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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