Thursday, May 1, 2014

An American Composer, A British Songstress, and A Hell on Earth...

The country known then as Burma was a vital invitation to Imperial Japan  to  enhance the possibilities of an invasion of India, during the second world war; and so a theater of operations took place there throughout the length of history's greatest conflict. Japan never did invade India, but this place called Burma became a Hell on earth for the combatants; namely, British and Canadian troops, for the most part, engaging in a  struggle with Japan in a place infested with diseases such as malaria and dengue fever -  the monsoon rains which made it impossible to wage war for six months of each year the conflict took place,  where a world of mud and dizzying temperatures was a daily reality - a war which resulted in such huge numbers of casualties caused by disease as  to constitute a factor of import to both sides in logistics.
Burma  took second place to the more central locations one remembers during this war; such as the European theater of operations, or the island-hopping campaigns in the Pacific.
But a lady who sang for a living in Great Britain remembered, and decided to spend a considerable amount of time with the British and Canadian soldiers in  this repugnant hell-hole, at great peril to her life.  Her name was Vera Lynn, who I believe is still with us(she must be approaching 97 or 98 years in age), and was well known in England during this period.
One of the tunes she sang to the troops was written by none other than Irving Berlin, titled "It's a Lovely Day Tomorrow,"  and it became the most popular song she performed - a  tune by Berlin, which never became as popular as so many of his delightful  songs. But it was a vital message of hope and  escape to  many men struggling in a truly alien world of disease and  appalling weather.
And this woman; this warrior without a weapon, unhesitatingly made the decision to refute the possibilities  of a fate that could have taken her life -simply to sing her message. A message that they are not forgotten, and that they were loved by many so far away. Another example of the power we call music.



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