Some moments in history are not meant to be forgotten.
The start of the first World War, the conclusion of the second, the falling of the Berlin Wall, and each and every homecoming that ever sprung forth tears of joy. These are all moments worth our acknowledgement and respect.
Some of the most important events in military history, however, are much less well known. The moment when a Private first heard he was going to be a father, or when a skilled field surgeon made sure that father could come home to see his child’s first birthday. These are emotionally charged events, and seeing them unfold first hand is indescribable.
That’s why the French came up with a word for it: Frisson. It’s a sudden overwhelming feeling of excitement, fear, upset, or gratitude.
Here are a few examples from the annals of military history.
5. War Horses
At least 8 million horses gave their lives during WWI. It would be several decades until they’d be memorialized in a film by Steven Spielberg, but a single photograph taken shortly after the war’s conclusion illustrates just how much the Allies owed to their equine comrades.
4. Generations at War
The U.S. has been at war with other countries nearly every year since it was founded in 1776. Some of those who have survived war and went on to start families would eventually see their children heading off to fight.
Sadly, not all of those children came home.
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3. Comforting troops in Battle
Not all of the most moving military moments happened under an American flag. During WWII, troops from Russia were fighting a long and arduous battle agains the Germans. They fought and died during what must have seemed like the longest winter ever.
But even the cold winter was punctuated by moments of bliss.
2. Congratulating the graduate
Not all of military history is filled with brutality and death. There are also events of great celebration, moments that can make a heart sing.
Seeing your son graduate from the Air Force Academy is one of those special events. When a father with ALS was fortunate enough to see his own son become a member of the USAF, he wasn’t about to let his disease hold him back.
Watch what he does here.
1. Coming Home
Vietnam was a bloody war. According to the National Archives, a documented 58,220 Americans died while fighting in Vietnam. In fact, more Americans died than did troops from any other country that participated in the war, and their bodies are still being returned.
For those who fought in Vietnam, hearing that it was time to come home must have been a relief like no other. Indeed it was. Watch below.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.