gmhTODAY 22 gmhToday Oct Nov 2018 - Page 75

In particular, a greater role for air- planes in modern society was assured given the successes American air power achieved during wartime. One such airplane demonstration came shortly after Armistice was declared, when the Allied soldiers entered Paris. As they marched down the Champs-Elysees toward the Arc de Triomphe to celebrate their triumphant win, the victors gazed skyward. Above, twelve “aeroplanes” performed stunts above the cheering crowds, swooping and diving directly over the trees that lined the grand boulevard. Postcards From the Front Written By Michael Brookman S oldiers and service members away from home have been lonely and homesick since the beginning of mankind. Looking back in our history, doubts and fears about health, finances, business, crops and life in general added to the stress of service and uncertainty of what lay ahead. Those back at home also suffered from the separation and doubts about the safety of their loved ones. Communication between those deployed or stationed any significant distance from home was strained. Although mail and other conduits existed for personal communication between field and home for hundreds of years, they could be as slow as months or even years between the recording of one’s thoughts and their receipt by family and friends. Combine the morale boost of personal expression with ease of censorship, and postcards became the perfect vector to help lessen the strain of distance. The U.S. postcard craze peaked shortly after 1907, when more than 600 million postcards were mailed. The U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force encouraged their troops to write home and gave them extra time away from training and chores to do so. The morale payoff for the troops and Home Front was significant. Literally millions of postcards were sent home during the World Wars. Hundreds of thousands were sent from boot camp/ basic training, worldwide bases and stations as well as ships during peace- time. Postcards themselves were inexpensive and there was minimal cost to the U.S. Postal Service in handling. Photos and illustrations on the post- card’s front painted a thousand words, and the writings on the back were open for any and all to read. The cards were frequently free for troops at bases, hotels, the YMCA, and United Service Organizations (USOs). Postage was free for troops during WWII and that fueled the postcard’s popularity. Military censorship was easy since messages were visible and had to be short enough to fit into the 3 x 3.5” blank on the back of a card. The writings were restricted generally to things such as, “How are things at home?” and “I’m doing fine, training is tough, I miss you.” Personal messages weren’t heavily censored but could be cut if they were too gloomy. Messages about location, specific training, technology and unit movements or assignments were carefully monitored. Anything that couldn’t be found in the newspapers or otherwise public knowledge was probably going to be cut to keep the enemy in the dark. Service members could face disciplinary action GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018 during wartime for writing the wrong thing, no matter how innocently. Several postcards give poignant insights into the minds of their writers as well as trying times in our history. Some were written to the “girl back home” who had moved on without the soldier’s knowledge. Others to a mother or father who would pass away before their card was received. Some of the hardest to read are the last communications before a serviceman was killed. Postcards written to a child the sender would never meet can bring tears. The best are those that follow the path from a soldier’s induction, enlist- ment or commission through the end of service and return home to marriage and a full, long life. Imagine that packet of postcards or any others lovingly kept for so many years as a memento of commitment and love! Service members today enjoy instant live, audio and visual connections with their loved ones, delivered by satellites. Whether directly, through Facebook, Instagram or FW"V2Bw2v@FrBB'&FvW2V6RvvN( 2vR2FRf'7BW'66RЧFW2&F2&V6&BbVGFW"fWFW&27B&W6VB@gWGW&RFRGFW"W '&67V6G"W&^( fRFP6WFr&R6WFr7V6F@vR6fƖ2&6R6vЦVFvRBWfVVFW'7FN( F'W@vWfW"WW&V6RvևFF6Уs