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frankfurt, germany, airport in november 1997. my girlfriend and i were there to visit her nephew who was flying for nato. i don't recall whether our commercial plane was landing from new york or about to take off. the day was foggy. two lights from an aircraft were in the distance, luggage wagons waiting nearby. i was visiting germany for the first time.

before arriving, i worried my anti-german feelings from world war ii would prejudice me. being there, meeting germans, seeing they were not in military uniforms and pushing their hands into the air, that for some of them that war was history, not their personal history, helped me see germans as people, not stereotypes of the past. many of us are capable of brutality, where others tell us who are heros and who are callous vicious monsters. we americans dropped hydrogen bombs on japanese civilians. my travels help me see beyond history books, newspapers and televison broadcasts.

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