Tuesday, June 6, 2023

D-Day Anniversary 2023

This post, with some edits, was originally published on June 6, 2021.

Memories of World War II were still recent when I was young.  I played with plastic toy soldiers of World War II.  I watched reruns of Hollywood movies on the local New York City TV Channels - everything from Guadalcanal Diary to Twelve O'clock High to Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.

In my youth, I sat in a movie theatre with my parents and watched "The Longest Day" which I could have renamed "The Longest Movie" but I'd like to see it again one day.  Here's a trailer:

As an adult, I made the acquaintance of more movies - Casablanca, The Best Years of Our Lives,and even the German movie Das Boot made long after the war was over.

On June 6, 1944, over 160,000 Allied troops landed on a 50 mile stretch of French beaches at Normandy to begin one of the greatest invasions of all time.

There are many stories written by survivors of World War II.  Possibly few of those stories would ever have been written if not for D-Day. On that day, some 160,000 Allied soldiers stormed beaches on the coastline of France.  Although some 9,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded on that day, others began the march across Europe to liberate the people.  Today is the 77th anniversary of that landing.

Now, the surviving soldiers of World War II are elderly, and dying.  We lost many survivors during the COVID epidemic, but it only sped up the process.

Many of the remains of the combat dead remained in France, where one of my cousin's spouses (of part French ancestry) made a point of visiting cemeteries to honor them.  These are memorials to American dead but there are other graves and memorials for British, Canadian, Australian, French, Greek, citizens of New Zealand, Norwegian, Polish and others who gave their lives that day.

Some of my relatives have been to those cemeteries.  I have never been to Europe but I intend to visit these, too, if and when I go.

Women?  American women worked in various war factories back home, and we need to remember them.  My spouse's 107 year old aunt, who died in 2019, was one of them.  My late mother was another.

In my lifetime, the last Civil War veteran died (1956), the last Spanish-American War vet (1993), the last World War I veteran (2012) passed away. (Note, there are some veteran claims that are disputed - these dates seem to be the most reliable).   If I live long enough, I will see the last member of the Greatest Generation pass from our Earth.

That makes me sad.  

On what anniversary of D-Day will there be no more of the Greatest Generation left to remember?


  1. ...war never solves problems.

  2. So true. And how much of this country's history will survive if politicians continue to change the history books and not allow the next generation to be taught the truth.

  3. My father was a World War II veteran, sadly no longer with us, and I grew up with his stories of the war. He had a million of them and never tired of telling them. Not surprising since this was the defining event of his life.

  4. It seems like it was so clear then. But it's like we're going back to those times, relearning the lessons from then that didn't stick. I hope we get through it this time without having to have a world war.

  5. I always equate D-Day with the demise of Bobby Kennedy. ONe vent held the promise of freedom for Europe, the other the beginning of the demise of democracy in the USA, which should be the beacon to the world.

  6. I've been to the Canadian cemetery near Juno Beach in Normandy. One of the most emotional days of my life!


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