66 years ago today, an army of young men parachuted, shelled, and rode small boats on to a beach on the coast of France. Though we had officially entered the war 3 years prior, the invasion of Normandy on D-Day marked the point in the war where we truly went on the offensive against Nazi Germany.
66 years later, the Normandy landings, the subsequent battles, and even the men that fought them have been granted a kind of immortality through their depictions in countless media from the big screen to HBO. And yet I find each year we have a few less men that stood in those boats, or felt their boots hit the soil of France from a parachute; and I believe that we are made poorer by the loss of those men.
D-Day doesn’t recieve the same recognition as Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day, but in many ways is more culturally significant to the life we now enjoy. If you are so lucky as to know a veteran of Normandy, thank them today.
I have to disagree with you just a wee bit. The allies were slugging their way up the boot of Italy at the time of the Normandy invasion. I daresay that the G.I.’s facing the Germans in those mountains would argue that they were definitely on the offensive against Germany.
It reminds me of the Bill Maldin cartoon I saw. In it it has a soldier in a foxhole reading a newspaper with the headline “France Invasion” The soldier says, “The hell if this ain’t the most important hole in the world, I’m in it……”
In my work as a hospital-based nurse I frequently cross paths with patients who served throughout the war, but seldom one such as I ran across last week. He had been a paratrooper, and we spoke a bit of his landing; he wasn’t particularly impressed with what he had done but damn glad when his trip was over, even if it was due to losing half a leg. We owe a debt that can never be repaid, and we are losing these patriots at the rate of about 850 per day. God bless each of them.
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