September 1, 1939, is the day the Nazis used a staged “Polish” military incident as the excuse to invade Poland and start World War II, closing the gate of freedom for millions and millions of people.
This year of 2014, the date of September 1 is also Labor Day, a traditional Monday holiday for Americans.
It seems appropriate, therefore, to take a moment to think about our military personnel and their families as well as veterans and their families. These active duty personnel and veterans have labored to serve our country to protect our freedom, and their families have also been asked to make sacrifices.
Sometimes we Americans take for granted both the people protecting our freedom as well as that freedom itself.
I’ve been working on a family history project recently about my husband’s paternal grandfather. Jacob Miller came to this country from somewhere in Eastern Europe as part of the mass migration in the early years of the 20th Century. Sometime after the beginning of WWI (and the centennial of the start of this war was this summer) and before the U.S. entered the war, he joined the British Army.
He had responded to a call from the British to Jewish young men in the U.S. to go to Canada and join up in order to fight for liberty. Somewhere in France he was gassed and never recovered his health, although he married and had two sons.
His older son Martin, my husband Mitch’s father, fought in Europe during WWII. Mitch and I were stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army, while my own father Albert Zimbler (see the accompanying photo) had been stationed in the U.S. during WWII.
My father-in-law and mother-in-law were married during the war and separated for several years. They had the triumphal experience of visiting Hitler’s retreat Berchtesgaden with Mitch and me on their anniversary of October 31 in 1971. My father-in-law had physically survived the brutal fighting, although he had some mental scarring from his experiences.
It seems fitting on this date of September 1st that I am preparing to submit my Cold War memoir TALES OF AN AMERICAN OCCUPYING GERMANY to the Naval Institute Press. I am hoping for a publishing deal for this memoir, and the Naval Institute Press could be a good fit.
Many Americans today do not realize that there have been American occupation troops (and their families) stationed in Germany since the end of WWII — to keep the Russians from invading Western Europe and originally to also keep Germany from uniting and starting another world war.
I have all my original documents from that time, some of which I envision including in the book. (This includes the card that we were to carry in order to recognize a certain Soviet license plate and report that car.)
Given what is happening in Ukraine right now, this memoir seems particularly timely.
And what is equally timely is remembering how the European powers allowed the Nazis to take over other countries until the invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, was finally too much.
Let’s hope that in 2014 we remember the consequences of appeasement in time.
© 2014 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller) is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks, including TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO PUBLISH AND MARKET YOUR BOOK IN THE AGE OF AMAZON and the romantic suspense spy thriller CIA FALL GUY, as well as newly written books not yet published. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org