Local PBS station WETA ran the old "Victory at Sea" series yesterday, Memorial Day. The series, which was produced and broadcast in the middle of the Korean War, was a patriotic reprise of World War 2. Steve Schoenherr of the University of San Diego writes:
It was conceived and produced by Henry Salomon who had worked as a research assistant for Samuel Eliot Morison who was in the process of writing a 15-volume history of the Navy in World War II. Morison helped Salomon get Navy approval for the documentary, and that persuaded NBC chairman David Sarnoff, father of Salomon's Harvard classmate Robert Sarnoff, to finance the $500,000 cost of production. NBC recovered its cost later from sponsors, although in its first run no ads were allowed to be inserted in middle of the program, only at the beginning and end. The Navy would use the films for recruitment and training. NBC set up a special production unit in January 1951 and scoured 10 countries for motion picture film....
Who can imagine anything like that happening today? Instead, even in what passes for tributes, we get this from DeNeen L. Brown in the Style section yesterday:
The entire West Lawn of the Capitol was filled last night with sad stories of old heroes from old wars and young heroes from new ones...
And of phone calls home: "Mom, I promise you I will be back." But he came back in a steel casket..."
An excerpt that seems to accurately reflect at least part of the presentation of the National Memorial Day Concert. Nonetheless, NRO's Michael Ledeen is essentially correct in noting the lack of tributes to fallen warriors in the mainstream media--tributes that properly honor what they have done and understand why they have done it. Or, I will add, provide a clear understanding about what's at stake.
Us. We're at stake.
By the way, the score for Victory at Sea was written by Richard Rodgers. Yes, that Rodgers.