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Saturday, June 6, 2009

When the Longest Day Saved the World

If there was any doubt that I am getting old it’s been put to rest on this anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Those Americans, British and Canadians who participated in the most massive military operation in the history of the world and the Frenchmen who scanned the horizon in anticipation are mostly gone. It is not hyperbole to say that had the Normandy Invasion failed the world likely would have been a very different place.

While the 65th anniversary of that Longest Day is being honored in the villages and on the beaches of Normandy it seems to be getting short shrift in this country. I hope that people will stop to take stock of what that event meant to the freedom of Europe and probably North America. Had their mission failed the Allies would have lost the element of surprise and possibly Europe. How long could Britain have held out? If fascism had won the day in Europe how long would it have been before tyranny came knocking on our door? How many more Jews, Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and disabled would have died before Hitler turned his eyes on the minorities of this country? I like to believe that we could have prevented Hitler from devouring North America the way he had much of Europe before anyone thought to stop appeasing him, but what kind of a world would we be living in had Operation Overlord failed?

As a Baby Boomer I was raised on stories of WWII, but the passage of time has dimmed the immediacy of what happened in that conflict and what D-Day meant. Young people are not cognoscente of what they owe. All people who enjoy freedom and Democracy owe a debt of gratitude to those brave men who lived and died on the beaches of Normandy. Thank you for literally saving the world.


Lorraine Hart said...

My sister and her husband are going to Normandy tomorrow, to pay their respects on the way to England. My father had wanted to go but is too frail for the flight.

Thank you for this beautiful piece Stephanie. xo

Stephanie Frieze said...

I was up early and surfing for coverage of the ceremony at Normandy. Much as I hate to admit it, FOX NEWS had the best coverage. They were the only ones that didn't have on-going commentary during the speeches, just uninterrupted coverage. I enjoyed it very much. All the speeches were moving, especially Gordon Brown's.

The History Channel actually aired an older piece on D-Day this afternoon and has another tonight. No "Monster Quest," thank goodness.

Kim Thompson said...

We watched some of the coverage and got teary-eyed.

We had our boy watch with us. He had lots of questions and that is good.

So, FOX had the best coverage; well, good for them. I don't care for that network, but, well, good for them.

Lorraine Hart said...

BBC America had coverage...and I'll take them over FOX....ANYTIME.