Common Sense

Remembering the Heroes of D-Day

My dad's long gone now, but this time of year I still get reunion notices from what's left of his buddies who served with him in World War II in the Eighth Air Force.

There aren't many buddies left now. The generation that rocked this world is quietly leaving this world — one-by-one, until, I suspect, all we'll have are photographs and memories.

A big memory today, of course: Normandy — 63 years ago this day, an invasion like no other aimed at stopping a threat like no other.

I can't even fathom the losses: 29,000 of our men, 11,000 Brits, more than 5,000 Canadians. To say nothing of the wounded and missing and unaccounted for to this day. Most lost within the first few days of the invasion — many, that first day.

I remember my dad explaining the futility of the mission for that first wave of guys who hit the beaches.

They were sitting ducks, he said. And they knew it.

Yet they hit the beaches to die, so that buddies behind them could hit the same beaches to win. And make history.

Two summers ago, I walked those very beaches, wondering how such a peaceful place could ever have been so bloody.

You'd almost never know the history there, until you look up and see all those graves there — thousands of them. Quiet now. I just hope, as the years go by and the reunions stop, not forgotten now. Not forgotten ever.

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