|21 year old B-17 pilot Jesse Jacobs|
© 2016 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. New Mexico born World War II cartoonist Bill Mauldin died more than ten years ago. To some people he is of no use any longer, therefore he is forgotten. To those who were home or in combat during the second world war Bill Mauldin and his cartoon characters Willie and Joe were some of the most important people ever.
That was long ago. It is not even taught to young people today. Being forgotten is happening not only to those who die but also those who get old. When I was young old people were revered.
Today there seems a backlash against elderly citizens. Even when we talk of the “Greatest Generation,” those who fought in World War II, there is little acknowledgment by young people today.
This last weekend was the 93rd birthday of my friend Colonel Jesse Jacob USAF retired. He flew B-17s in World War II and F-80 fighters in Korea. After that he had a long aviation career that would take several books to document. Unlike most of his fellow flyers in Europe and Korea, Jesse is still alive. He is one of my favorite people of all time.
Cartoonist Bill Mauldin died in 2003 and was born 95 years ago near Alamogordo at Mountain Park. He enlisted in the Army in 1940 as a rifleman and gradually people realized that while a fine rifleman he was a fantastic cartoonist. What many people don’t realize is he was also a great writer.
His 1946 book Back Home details how poorly combat troops were treated when they returned to our country after the end of the war. But that premise is rejected today because people just don’t want to believe it. The ink on my book was put there in 1946 by this Pulitzer Prize winner and no revisionist can change that.
As a senior citizen I see this often and I am offended.