It's time to escape the ghosts of the past
Nuremberg in 1945 after it was heavily bombed by the Allies. Getty Images
It seems that the further we get away from that conflict, the more intense are the feelings of nostalgia for those that were there. The longer my and future generations escape the tragedy of total war the more we revere those who survived the last.
These days we look back far less in anger. Nostalgia is more often the order of the day. The London Blitz spirit, so often regarded as resilience in the face of adversity, is evoked to remind younger generations of the privations but also the qualities that derived from that terrible air war.
It seems to me that it remains difficult to get the balance right between celebrating the heroics and expressing the sorrow, basking in the glory and comprehending the pain.
Over the past few weeks I've made several pieces for BBC London News to help cast an eye over the 70 years that have passed since the Battle of Britain and the Blitz in 1940.
These two events have shaped the perception of modern Britain as much as any others in the twentieth century.
In the course of this I have been speaking to dozens of survivors of the incessant raids on London which reduced large chunks of it to rubble. I also watched a German documentary made in 2005 entitled "Als Nurnberg Brannte..." (When Nuremberg burned).
Although the firestorm happened much later in 1945 the damage in the Bavarian city was even more devastating. The Old Town disappeared.
In my home, as I was growing up, I was familiar with both stories and the uncertainties it brought in childhood.
My mother was raised in London during the Blitz and endured the V1 and V2s. In Nuremberg, as the Americans by day and the British by night pummelled the spiritual heart of Hitler's Reich, my father survived.
What strikes me is the difference in tone of the people in these two cities, all in their late seventies or early eighties, mostly children during the war, when they reflect on the war from the air directed inevitably at civilians.
I have always been struck by the tone of unremitting regret and pain which shrouds the recollections of Germans and Nurembergers at what became of their cities and their early lives in the immediate aftermath of the war.
Here in London the tone has always been different, slightly more triumphal, slightly less inclined to apologise for the loss on the other side.
Of course it is the victors who write history and determine the emphasis of victory's purpose. Here in London even in the destruction, bitterness and penury that plagued much of Britain until the mid-1950s, we lived in the certainty that we were right and had just cause and the Nazis were certainly wrong. Over that there can be little dispute.
But there is a danger in deriving the source of our certainty and righteousness from events that are now a long way off, where there are ever fewer eye-witnesses and the truths that we held as self-evident are slipping from stories into myths.
We must increasingly deal with our own times without necessarily finding answers in that past.
The truth is there are two sides to every story and we must begin to recognise that the sacrifices made in London during the Blitz were equalled and surpassed several times over by our former civilian adversaries.
The pain and loss of war is universal.