Remembering D-Day

Well, not remembering, since it was 17 years before history began for me personally. However, it is on my mind. It is astonishing, what a feat the whole thing was, and what was accomplished.

It’s an odd thing. It might have been possible to sit back and do nothing but defend the UK and other places that had either not been taken or been freed already, while the Soviet Union inexorably kicked Nazi butt. It’s arguable that we didn’t defeat Germany so much as they did, although the United States and Great Britain helped make it easier.

However, whatever they defeated, they weren’t giving up. That was the big imperative for getting on with it then and racing to Germany. It might have been better for millions of people had we started sooner on that phase. Then again, we might not have been ready, planning might not have been sufficient, it might have been a disaster. Stirling only knows how it might have turned out then.

The Russian people, and any Soviet subjects who fought with them, were big damn heroes in that they were instrumental in defeating the Nazis. They don’t get enough credit. At the same time, the evil empire they had no choice but to be fighting for was fire fighting fire. The Normandy invasion was in part, however little touted, about a firebreak.

But I digress. It’s a shame we are on the verge of losing the last people with direct memories of this particular history. To die is to forget. To forget is to risk repeating mistakes. The least we can do is to continue remembering second-hand, and to honor the memory of those who did what needed to be done in those increasingly long ago days.

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