Today is Memorial Day here in the United States, a federal holiday for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. While thinking about this post, I reached out to some international friends to understand similar holidays in their countries: Australia has ANZAC Day, Great Britain has Remembrance Day (also called Poppy Day) and The Netherlands have Dodenherdenking. In each country, the purpose of these holidays is a somber remembrance of the casualties of war.
Memorial Day is especially on my mind this year because I have spent so much time reading about World War II while proofreading the Achtung! Cthulhu rpg line. I studied WW2 back in high school, but never as intensely or as detailed as I have reading the alternate history version in these rpg books. While proofreading these books, I have increased my interest in the real history of WW2 and thus done further reading outside the rpg books and watched quite a few documentaries as well. In the past few years, I have been blessed to travel to Great Britain, The Netherlands, and Germany. While on these trips, I have continued this interest and sought out many locations of significance during WW2. Seeing a location in person that you have read about in a game or research greatly increases the emotional connection.
As Memorial Day approached, I also thought about the various games I enjoy playing. Sometimes it is easy, at least for me has been in the past, to forget about the real world significance of some of these games we are sitting around the table and enjoying. I encourage you to be reflective as you play historical war games such as Advanced Squad Leader, Axis & Allies, and Memoir ’44, or alternate history games such as Achtung! Cthulhu, Dust Tactics, and Shadows Over Normandie. These games are very challenging, exciting, and fun, but they also reflect some of the most somber history of our world.
My travels, my freelancing, and my gaming have all converged to make this Memorial Day even more significant to me than in years past. I have a much stronger emotional connection to the history of the holiday here in the US and the significant of remembrance world wide. I also have a much greater respect for our soldiers deployed currently and the sacrifices they make in their personal lives.
How has your freelancing or gaming hobby impacted your experience and emotions in regards to real world events and history?