I was talking to an elderly ex-veteran at the British Legion Care Home my father resides it. He asked me what I thought of the commemorations planned for D-Day 75. Was it important to still mark these days, and why?
I responded that such landmark events should be remembered and praised by the younger generations – for without the courage of my new friend and his comrades we would probably not know or enjoy the freedom we do today. Europe was markedly changed as a result of World War 2 – maybe even the whole world. Imagine Europe if the likes of Hitler had won – tyranny, racism, hatred, oppression. It would have been Orwell’s nightmare.
It’s difficult for someone who has (fortunately) grown up in a liberal country, where for the most part people are free, and the government – despite its faults – could be SO much worse.
Distant though it is to us now – this incredible, courageous, miraculous battle should be enshrined in our history for all time.
75 years ago tens of thousands of troops, and months of planning strove to free Nazi-occupied France from the terrible jackboot of tyranny. In the largest seaborne invasion in history men, machines and miracles fought to bring us freedom, and bring an end to the Second World War. Many died, and those who survived were forever touched by their experiences. Not many of those who fought on those beaches are still with us – the veterans number barely a few hundred – and those who do remain are unlikely to see many more of these commemorations.
Freedom does not come easy, or cheaply. I think many of us alive today – my generation and the generation after me have little concept of what it was like in those terrible years. We take freedom as a given. Most of us (fortunately) have never seen military action, and those who continue to serve do so largely remote from our homeland – maintaining freedom for others.
To those brave men and women who took part in D-Day, and, indeed, those who serve and have served to bring freedom where there is none Thank You. You will not be, and should not be forgotten.
- 156,000 allied troops landed in Normandy, across
- 5 beaches
- 7,000 ships and landing craft involved and 10,000 vehicles
- 4,400 from the combined allied forces died on the day
- 4,000 – 9,000German casualties
- Thousands of French civilians also died