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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Friday, June 06, 2008

D-Day, Normandy, June 6, 1944

Today is the Anniversary of D-Day, the great battle for a beach head on the Normandy coast of France. There are not enough superlatives to describe this battle assault. For its size, planning and execution is was truly a unique military operation, worthy of remembering and studying as a monumental struggle of the Allies to turn the tide against Nazi Germany in recapturing Europe. It was the third piece of the puzzle in the struggle to defeat the Germans and push them back into Germany and defeat. The other two were the Russian defeat of the German army at Stalingrad and their drive to the West and the invasion and capture of Italy by the Western Allies.

This year I reread about two element of the Normandy Invasion. Juno Beach, the site of the Canadians effort and Omaha Beach one of the American points assault. The Canadians distinquished themselves by getting ashore and penetrating the furthest inland that day. The Americans suffered dreadful loses (now thought to be as many as 5,000) as things had gone wrong . Finally they assaulted the cliffs to secure their beachhead. Accounts of these two battle are well worth reading.

The Normany Assault can be thought of as the beginning of the end of the second world war but in the coming year hundreds of thousands would yet die before it was over.

As a footnote to history, I have long been interested in the story of Kurt Meyer. He was a highly decorated SS officer who was held responsible for the murder of Canadian prisoners of war at Abbaye Ardennes. He was accused, tried and convicted by the Canadian military . He was given life imprisonment but ended only spending 9 years in jail.

On this day, I remember my Uncle Ross who was a fighter pilot in the RCAF in this great battle.
Later he served in Holland. I wish I had asked him more about his wartime experience. I do remember him tellingme , if he had to do it over gain he would be a conscientious objector, which surprised.

Take time today to remember the Normany Campaign.


At 11:10 p.m., Blogger KGMom said...

As each year passes, there are fewer public comments about D-Day, and less acknowledgement of its incredible significance.
I hope we never forget it--what unbelievable sacrifices all the men made who stormed those beaches. Several years ago, we visited northern France and saw the beaches--it was so moving. I just marvelled at their courage, their bravery, their accomplishments--and, yes, their deaths.

At 7:00 a.m., Blogger Old Wom Tigley said...

Sorry I am late getting here and reading this post.. I agree about the importance of this day and do try and think what times must have been like back then. I liked the film 'The Longest Day' a great story of what happened then... but there must have been so much fear and heartache on the day...

Great post... sorry I was late reading it..


At 9:29 a.m., Blogger Navigator said...

Your comments about your uncle, Ross (my father), surprised me. I had many conversations with him about his wartime experiences and his life in general. He told me about some of the things he would have done differently if he had to live all over again, but being a conscientious objector was not one of them.

In fact, my father had what would be called, "a good war". By that I mean, although he was wounded and nearly killed on at least 3 occasions, he did not come back emotionally scarred (no PTSS). He valued the friendships and comaraderie with his fellow squadron combatants and maintained his friendship with them for decades after the war. It was also one of the reasons he stayed in the military for 10 years after the end of hostilities. He would have been very proud had I chosen to follow in his footsteps and joined the Air Force.

He was no shrinking violet about the necessity of maintaining military vigilance and fighting when appropriate, and I can recall several times when I heard him utter those sentiments. The man you describe doesn't sound like the one I knew. My mother also does not recall him ever suggesting conscientious objection as his revisionist view.

Are you sure this wasn't just a dedicated pacifist's wet dream?


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