In the summer of 1971, I was fortunate enough to join a church youth group on a mission/educational trip to Europe. Our assistant Pastor spoke fluent German and created a mini self study abroad focused on the impact of World War II in Europe. The mission portion of the trip was the dismantling (and salvage of material) of a youth center in Maubeuge, France.
After our labors we then traveled to Salzburg, Germany to interview Albert Speer (Hilter's Architect), the author of Inside the Third Reich: Memoirs. Then we traveled to Munich, East and West Berlin, and Poland (Warsaw and Krakow) and the concentration camp at Auschwitz.
A generation behind World War II, it was our chance to indirectly connect with that time. My children and the subsequent generations will view WWII as just pages in a history book no different from studying Ancient Greece. Yes there are actual black and white films but the reality of those are even disguised and shuffled in with the other movies of history.
The last World War I veteran died Feb. 12, 2012 and there are about 1.5 million World War II veterans still around (now in their late 80's). Before long, those eye witness accounts will be gone.
Time erodes the impact of history. Voices disappear. Pictures (still and film) even fade into the background of current events. Will subsequent generations stand on the shoulders of those before them, or does history repeat?
"History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme" Mark Twain