When I think about my room, I think about my beige walls.
Beige sounds kind of boring, but my walls are the color of warm sand. My room is a tad larger than most teenagers’ rooms. I have a very large, deep brown walnut dresser with an attached mirror as wide as the dresser that covers one side of my room. I also have a light brown desk in the corner of my room that I almost never use. I have a queen sized bed up against the wall in the center of the room. The comforter of the bed is dark brown suede with circles.
I have a bunch of pillows on my bed too, which I love to use when I’m reading. I have a huge bookcase that stands 6 feet tall, filled with history books, mostly about World War II. I have a nightstand by my bed; it’s filled with a clutter of books that I’m planning to read. My books speak to me about the horrors and heroics of World War II. I also have a lamp and an alarm clock on the nightstand. I have two windows with a view of the backyard that overlooks the reservoir along with some oak trees that most likely have been there since America was born.
However, the one thing that stands out in my room that anyone would notice is my collection of Miniature Soldiers from World War II. I have a whole banquet table to display my miniatures, but there’s still too many so I had to put some on my desk and on my dresser. On my large banquet table is a winter themed battle called the Battle of the Bulge. This battle was the last desperate offensive by the Germans who were involved in a two front war; the Eastern Front with the Red Army (Russians) and the Western Front with the British and Americans. The thinking behind this battle was that the Germans usually destroy 10 divisions of the Red Army and wouldn’t have any affect on the Eastern Front.
A division has 10,000 to 18,000 men. So, that’s over 100,000 men. But, if they destroy 10 divisions of American or British soldiers, it would have a very bad effect on their Front and they would negotiate a stalemate. That way they could focus on the Eastern Front. Plus, the Americans or British could work with Germany against Russia, who wasn’t an easy ally to America or Britain. The Battle of the Bulge was and still is the largest army battle ever.
When I look at my miniatures, I think about the books and movies about the Battle of the Bulge. I try to put myself in their shoes. For example, it had been the coldest winter recorded in 30 years, -56 degrees. So, I try to think about how bitterly cold it was for the soldiers and how uncomfortable it must have been. They must’ve felt chills go up their spine. The trees were exploding into splitters all around you.
I try to think how sometimes your foxhole could be your grave. Sometimes it’s your body, other times it’s your soul that had died. I try to think about bullets whizzing all over the battlefield; sometimes they hit buildings, sometimes they hit the ground, and sometimes they hit your brother-in-arms. I try to think about engines rumbling along a road and an occasional sputtering engine, stopping the convoy. On the battlefield, I try not to think about the wounded screaming or gritting their teeth and the dead lying motionless. I try to think how the snow covered all the blood and scars of war as if God was ashamed of it.
I’m also starting a new battlefield about the beaches of Normandy on D-Day or Operation Overlord. The battlefield is located on my dresser. The battlefield is my tribute to “Saving Private Ryan”, “Band of Brothers”, and “Brothers in Arms”, which sparked my imagination and my interest in World War II. D-Day was the largest invasion in the history of mankind. I’m making a re-creation of Omaha Beach similar to “Saving Private Ryan”, which was the only day the color of the ocean turned blood red.
I try not to think about the crashing of the waves and the beaches littered with dead Allied soldiers. When I look at my miniatures, I think how the machine guns were gunning down soldiers who practically had no cover; it’s almost as if they were being gunned down by a firing squad. The Allies were practically defenseless, yet they conquered the beaches of Normandy. I try to think about how chaotic and terrifying it must have been; soldiers moving forward, soldiers retreating from the notorious SS, which was an elite unit in the Wehrmacht (German Army). Explosions were coming from everywhere; from tanks, artillery, mortars, grenades, Panzerfausts, and fighters. Allied soldiers were shooting at anything that was moving beyond the beaches.
The beaches reeked of gunpowder and the seawater was tinted with blood. I think about the Allied soldiers drowning because they had too much equipment. They had to carry gas masks which weren’t even used in World War II. They had to carry over 100 pounds of equipment; imagine trying to wade through the waves to the beach with that much weight on you while trying to dodge the bullets. I can’t even imagine what the WWII soldiers had to endure and I now understand why they are called, “The Greatest Generation”. I also want to set up another D-Day display, this time about the paratroopers as another tribute to “Band of Brothers” and “Brothers in Arms”.
I want to make a woods or a village setting with a group of paratroopers being surrounded by the Wehrmacht, since that was how it was for almost every single paratrooper. The paratroopers were alone and people were trying to kill them everywhere where they looked. To make matters worse, most of the paratroopers lost their weapons in the drop so they had no weapons to protect themselves. Some of the paratroopers had to resort to hand to hand combat. I read in one of my books about one time that it was almost pitch black, when a paratrooper saw a soldier and started to walk along with him.
It was silence for 15 minutes other than sporadic gunfire. Then the soldier spoke in German asking the paratrooper, “Have you seen my Hitler Youth Knife?” The shocked paratrooper shot the soldier in response. It was so dark that people felt the weight of the darkness hanging over them. There were many sights that were heroic such as this story I read in Voices of D-Day, “While looking for water to fill my canteen, I spotted a well at the rear of a nearby farmhouse. On my way to the well, the scene I came upon was one that has never left my memory. It was a picture story of the death of one 82nd Airborne trooper.
He had occupied a German foxhole and made it his personal Alamo. In a half circle around the hole lay the bodies of nine German soldiers, the body closest to the hole only three feet away, a ‘potato masher clutched in its fist. The other distorted forms lay where they fell, testimony to the ferocity of the fight. His ammunition bandoleers were still on his shoulders, but empty of all the M-1 clips. Cartridge cases littered the ground.
His rifle stock was broken in two, its splinters adding to the debris. He had fought alone, and like many others that night, he had died alone. I looked at his dog tags. The name read Martin V. Hersh. I wrote the name down in a small prayer book I carried, hoping someday I would meet someone who knew him.
I never did.” World War II was the most destructive war ever, resulting in 60 millionn lives lost, with the Soviet Union having the most casualties with 10 millionn military deaths and 15 millionn civilian deaths. This total doesn’t include the deaths of many people from Stalin’s purges called, “The Red Terror” which included almost 2 million additional deaths. The history of World War II was horrific and the bravery shown by the soldiers inspires me that one day I could be as brave as they were. My room and my miniature re-enactments help me to remember their bravery and heroics. My room is where I first began reading about WW II and my room is where my thirst for knowledge about World War II started.
My room is where my interest in history began. My room is the battlefield where World War II was fought. My room means the world to me.