A young soldier’s sacrifice that is being forgotten

Donald Trump is reviving the policies that once led the world to catastrophe, writes David Von Drehle from the USA


U.S. President Donald Trump listens during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 18, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. President Donald Trump listens during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 18, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Lately, I can’t shake the image of a young man on a battlefield in France or the South Pacific. It’s 1944. He’s dying – one more incremental death amid the worst carnage the world has ever seen. What if I told you that experts’ estimates of the death toll in World War II range from 50 million to 85 million?

Would you skim right by, or would you pause to consider what hellish conditions would create a margin of error of 35 million lives? Nearly the entire population of California – gone, or never there to begin with. As Erich Maria Remarque wrote in his novel The Black Obelisk, “one dead man is death – and two million are only a statistic.”And 50 million, or 85 million, is a chillingly vague statistic indeed.

So I’m thinking of one dying soldier rather than mind-boggling millions. He could be any one of the lost multitude, but let’s give him an identity: 2nd Lt Jack Lundberg of Woods Cross, Utah. On the eve of D-Day, with a premonition that he would never see the Great Salt Lake again, Lundberg wrote to his parents about his love for them, his gratitude for life and his willingness to sacrifice all for his country. “I feel that in some small way I am helping to bring this wasteful war to a conclusion,” he said.

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