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"Forgotten Fronts"

The Stars and Stripes (Mediterranean), 1 Dec 1944,
reprinted from The New York Times, 23 Nov 1944

   The human mind, like the human eye, can focus on just one spot at a time. Today that spot, for Americans reading war news, may focus somewhere on the new western front. A while ago it was in the Philippines. Longer ago still it was in Italy.

   It is not in Italy now, and for the simple reason that what is going on there does not seem to be immediately decisive. It may, in fact, be decisive, for the German troops which are being detained by the 5th and 8th Armies are thereby made unavailable farther north. There may be a quarter million of them, and that much reinforcement for the Germans west of Rhine might extend the war by months.

   So the hard-pressed troops of the 5th and 8th are doing just as much to end the struggle as are the 3rd Army men who walked into Metz. They are doing their part under conditions of great hardship and difficulty. Dispatches from Rome tell of mud, snow, and fog in the Apennines and the lower Po Valley. To hold the line is to suffer and endure. To advance is to face a hell which nature has joined with the enemy to produce.

   Let us remember that a soldier killed in a minor engagement has as truly given everything for his country as one who falls in a great advance, and that wounds, however received, are equally hard to bear. There is a democracy of war to which every soldier on every contested line belongs. There is a fraternity of fighting men which is the noblest and the most demanding of all the links and ties among the male portion of humanity. A patrol moves warily forward in Italy, on Leyte, in Germany. Its exploits may never be recorded, but like an army advancing in mass units, it is helping to win the war

   Glory and honor go with those tired soldiers. Without them this great and terrible drama of war could never be played through to a triumphant finish.

The Stars and Stripes (Mediterranean), 1 Dec 44, reprinted from The New York Times, 23 Nov 44.

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