As an American History major, I have read extensively on World War Two, primarily the European Theater, and to a much smaller extent the Pacific Theater. My father was on the Murmansk run in the Soviet Union and then to India, my father-in-law trained pilots in India to fly over the Hump, and my step-father was two islands ahead of MacArthur with the First Cavalry. My father’s best friend was in a tank battalion in France. My sister-in-law’s mother was a nurse in the Philippines. I taught with a principal who was home guard in Hawaii, and an English teacher who lost an arm in Italy with the 442nd. Yet all I learned about the war came from books.
On today’s anniversary, I am reminded of lots of attempts to learn about the War. Waiting for a ticket for The Longest Day in the 1960’s, starring John Wayne and a lot of teen heart-throbs at the time. I remember at the tender age of 14, thinking we were lucky to have succeeded in winning those battles. When I showed The Longest Day to my AP History class in 1994, for the 50th anniversary, age and maturity made me see just how close we came to losing it all in Normandy. The whole film is available on YouTube, and it holds up very well.
There are a lot of articles out today that give a few hidden stories about D-Day. I’m going to spotlight them here in hopes you will click on them and read about ordinary people (and some not so ordinary, like the Queen of England) who fought in that war. May we always remember.
From the Smithsonian, archival footage of the invasion. Click on the picture for the video.
And finally, the Heads of State at Remembrances:
Always, always remember this Greatest Generation.