The centennary of John Wayne came so close in time with the anniversary of D Day that they seem spiritually connected as one flowed into the other.
Turner Classic Movies, American Movie Classics, and Encore Westerns reran a number of John Wayne movies. Some get little showing these days, but he did a number of patriotic themed movies during World War II, and, of course, for the rest of his career. A few of those WWII movies were new, but they had stellar casts, good scripts, and heart-felt acting.
In addition, History Channel, the Military Channel, and other history related "cable channels" ran a number of programs related to World War II.
The differences between that era and today proved overwhelming.
First off, the nation was fully at formally declared war, and the nation stood united behind the Commander in Chief and the fighting forces. The malcontents and anti-war crowds did not get the press. People felt the threat from foreign aggressors to be existential ones that had the capability of ending our way of life and ending us.
These great people at home and at war made no disgusting "sacrifices." They chose their highest values to pursue, put those values at the top of their priority lists, and let all their other values get in line to be fulfilled later, if ever. Their spirits were behind the war effort. They accepted rationing and doing without some creature comforts because they wanted our guys to win, and they wanted to be a huge part of that winning.
German Jews, new to America, went back into military service to become intelligence personnel. They interrogated captured Germans from D Day on, and they broadcast demoralizing propaganda to German troops. The nature of that "propaganda" was very simply the truth; they did not need to make up anything. When some of these intelligence personnel were captured and found to be Jews, they were killed. Their contribution is not well known, but they were the greenest of immigrants to America, and they gave their all to defeat the evil they had escaped from.
Joan Crawford co-starred in Reunion in France (1942) with John Wayne. He was a downed RAF pilot trying to get back to England, and she was a Parisian diletante. She awakens to the quislings and fifth columnists who sold out France to the Nazis, and she gave some truly heartfelt and inspiring lines of dialogue. Here, 65 years later, from a little known movie, I got goosebumps from her performance, and Wayne looked every bit the model for the WWII soldier hero.
The contrast with the situation today is more than plain as the nose on one's face. It is just too pathetic to spend time describing, so I won't.
I will add this, however. My very favorite movie from WWII, and one of my very favorite movies of all time, is This Land Is Mine (1943). No venue ran this one during the D Day remembrance period, and it is also seldom seen. However, if you like to see good, solid, positive, appropriate values portrayed unselfconsciously and minus this postmodern sense of shame about discussing values on screen, see this movie. It is the story of how a cowardly French school teacher finds his courage to stand up to the Nazis. It too stands in overwhelming contrast to today.