It’s not always clear why we favor this over, say, the liberation of Italy from the previous year, but the landings in Normandy simply catch our imagination better. And it’d certainly be a much grimmer world if those landings had been unsuccessful. We would have to drop more atomic bombs, for one thing.
There are few living men and women left who fought for us in that war. To them and to the dead both: thank you.
Business Insider has some pictures (non-interactive) where WWII photographs of D-Day and the liberation of France are superimposed on modern shots of the same place. I don’t know why, but it’s the English pictures that really drive it home for me. Pray for the souls of those who fell, and pray that we never have to do that again.
The beginning of the end of the war in the Atlantic theater. I have not much to say that has not been already said; but there is one point to make. You will see a lot of people who will wistfully, or angrily, or simply emotionally remark that the deeds done by that generation might be beyond the reach of this one. To which I say: no, they are not. The people of the 1940s had to learn to endure, usually under appalling conditions; and if we were to be subjected to the same stresses that they were we would learn to endure, too. It would admittedly be just as painful for us as it was for them – nostalgia blurs the memory – but men and women have not suddenly become genetically different in the last seventy years. We’ve simply been enjoying a bit of a Golden Age, that’s all.
That’s all. God bless the men and women who died in World War II so that I could grow up in peace and quiet.
I would be remiss if I did not note that today is D-Day; when American, Australian, British, Canadian, and New Zealander forces* began the long, difficult process of delivering occupied Europe from evil. We were fortunate to have men this brave:
Would that we will never need such bravery again.
*With the help of Dutch, French, Norwegian, and Polish ones.
It is the sixty-fifth anniversary of the Normandy landings – and it’s been obviously discussed in great detail around the ‘Net. Anything that I could add has probably been said already, so I will merely note the date and my profound respect and admiration for those men who fought and died to liberate Western Europe.
[UPDATE] Actually, this bugs me a little about myself that I felt the need to publish the above self-indulgent blather. It’s all true, of course – but it’s also pretentious of me to pretend that the universe was waiting for me to type that out.
Sorry to bother you with it.
RS’s Mark Impomeni lets us know that we’re snubbing the French for a change:
Reports out of London indicate that President Barack Obama declined an inviation from French President Nicholas Sarkozy to visit Normandy’s Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-mer on his way to Strasbourg for the NATO summit last week. The Daily Telegraph reports that White House officials travelled to France last month to discuss the visit with their counterparts on Sarkozy’s staff. But one American official familiar with the negotiations said that President Obama never had any intention of making the stop over.
The Telegraph also indicates that the French claims that Obama will be in Normandy for the 65th anniversary of D-Day have not been corroborated by the White House.
[rubbing head with hands] Continue reading No stop at Normandy.