Saturday, 6 June 2009

“You remember it. Remember every bit of it, ‘cause we are on the eve of a day that people are going to talk about long after we are dead and gone.”


Few of the men knew, sixty-five years ago, what their rickety vessels would deliver them to. As their boats cut through choppy waters towards a stretch of the Normandy coast, however, many knew precisely what rested upon their weapon-bearing shoulders.

They had to work quickly; they had to kill quickly, for lives were at stake. Theirs, or the enemy’s.

The sand and sea bore witness to a bloody battle: a torrential rain of deadly bullets poured on the men, drenching uniforms in blood, its crimson warmth cooling further the blood that still ran, icy cold, in their veins.

Many thousands perished on that fateful Summer’s day in 1944 and every year, if not every day, we remember them for their immense sacrifice, for changing the course of history, for saving the millions of oppressed souls in war-torn Europe, for saving you and for saving me. Where would I be had The Allies failed in their invasion of Nazi-occupied France? Would I be writing for you in German? Japanese? Would I be even writing at all?

There were survivors, of course. Survivors who remind us at every opportunity of the events that unfolded on D-Day, on the 6th of June, 1944. Survivors, whose accounts are crucial in our understanding of the past and the present – an understanding, which is essential in depriving the future of the chance to ever repeat history.

Title quote: Rod Steiger in The Longest Day (1962)
Photo credits: news.bbc.co.uk, Robert Capa at metmuseum,org, AP photo at chinadaily.com.cn

1 comment:

Paperface said...

If only there was a way of reminding people "every day" of the consequences - of the reality of war. Perhaps I'm just cynical, but I think far too many of us have forgotten.

Thank you for this lovely post.