Some beautiful pictures. It reminds me of how young most of them were. I lost an uncle with Patton's 3rd Army in November 44; he was 19. My youngest son, the "baby" is 32. I thought about it many years ago when my son was 19, too and I recalled that my father's family was poor - how many of their families had been poor during the Great Depression that rocked the globe in the years before the War - Europe had been in Depression almost a decade before the US Stock Market dropped.
So all these "kids" who had known nothing but want and poverty were forced to become men overnight. I'm reminded of what "All Quiet on the Western Front" said about boys learning to kill before they had a chance to learn to live. I wonder sometimes if there was a plan somewhere, that they were being prepared by the hardships of their childhoods to endure what they were going to have to face in the cauldron of World War 2.
So many of them never had the chance to get married, have children, grow old. Those pictures capture them young - even in the hell of war - able to wring a few moments of joy out of the very fact of being alive after being so close to death. Those pictures manage to capture the true humanity - and tragedy - of war. As Emmerson said,
"So nigh is beauty to our dust
So near is God to man
When duty whispers low, 'thou must!"
The youth replies, 'I can!'"
Thank you for sharing the pictures. They bring home the true price of our way of life to me and make me mindful of the youthful ghosts in my own memories. May we never forget.