yours truly, in a previous career - circa 1993.
Though I was born in 1971, I grew up in the shadow of WWII. My grandfather was a Cavalry Officer in both WWI and WWII. A hefty chunk of my family was killed by the Nazis. I grew up in France, surrounded by memorials, military cemetaries and the pockmarked landscapes of Normandie, Ypres and the Ardennes. Think old bunkers, craters and fields of white crosses. My mother, who was 11 when Allied troops finally landed and remembers the war all too well, still - to this day - keeps an emergency supply of sugar and butter... just in case, I don't know, the Germans decide to give it another go.
I grew up with the paratroopers' prayer framed over my bed, and the annual ritual of having my father let me hold my grandfather's medals. (The Legion d'Honeur and the Croix de Guerre.) I grew up with countless stories of sacrifice and courage and bravery. I grew up with a profound love for all things American, simply because long ago, decades before I was born, thousands of them crossed the Atlantic to come save us... and died on our beaches and in our fields.
What does this have to do with branding? Very little... but it's Memorial Day... and I didn't want to just let it go by.