As I sit and write this, my home is quiet. There are some sparrows chirping outside, their young ready to fledge. It is peaceful. I am blessed.
On the coast of Normandy France, most days it is silent, except for the sigh of wind on the cliffs and the sound of waves hitting the shore.
In cemeteries at home and abroad, it is peaceful and still. White crosses line the rows in Normandy France in silent testimony of the loudest, longest day.
Royalty free image by JackMac32. Used with permission.
75 years ago, silence was broken by the roar of planes, the sound of ships coming ashore, and the shout of the brave British and United States military coming to liberate France.
The amphibious assault began on June 6, 1944 at 6:30 a.m. It was the largest seaborne invasion in history.
Royalty free image by Skeeze. Used with permission.
Though Allied forces experienced heavy casualties, they did not retreat or give up. By the end of August 1944 Paris had been liberated and the Germans were pushed back. On May 8, 1945, Nazi Germany surrendered.
Of the Allied forces who were engaged by air and sea on D-Day, there were 73,000 Americans. Recently, I wrote an article about an American paratrooper who jumped on D-Day. You can read it here.
2019 by Julie Jeffery Manwarren. Publication shown is The Abington Suburban.
What does the 'D' in D-Day stand for? I found several possibilities. Time Magazine reported:
"D for Day, H for Hour means the undetermined (or secret) day and hour for the start of a military operation. Their use permits the entire timetable for the operation to be scheduled in detail and its various steps prepared by subordinate commanders long before a definite day and time for the attack have been set. When the day and time are fixed, subordinates are so informed.
So far as the U.S. Army can determine, the first use of D for Day, H for Hour was in Field Order No. 8, of the First Army, A.E.F., issued on Sept. 7, 1918, which read: “The First Army will attack at H–Hour on D-Day with the object of forcing the evacuation of the St. Mihiel salient.”—ED.
(Time, June 12, 1944)
General Eisenhower, later the 34th president of the United States, said 'D' was for departed or departure date. Others have said it stands for disembarkation.
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No matter what the 'D' in D-Day stands for, for me it means determination in the face of danger. It means that there was once a loud and long day where brave Americans fought evil. A day in which silence was shattered amidst blasts and explosions, screams, anti aircraft fire and shouts to keep going, to not give up.
Almost one year after the beaches of Normandy were stormed by the brave Allied troops, the Germans were defeated, a remnant of Jewish survivors were freed, and Europe was liberated. It almost seems other-worldly. As I sit in peace and freedom, my mind cannot comprehend the reality of war. But we do ourselves a disservice when we turn a blind eye to history - no matter how dark.
I just finished reading an amazing book by Georgia Hunter. 'We Were the Lucky Ones' (Penguin Books, 2018) tells the story of one Jewish family and their experience during the Holocaust.
© 2019 by Julie Jeffery Manwarren. All rights reserved.
Without giving away the ending, this book suprised me with its threads of hope and its ending. The tale of siblings and their parents moved me deeply, even more so because it was based on the true story of the author's family. It is available from Amazon, below. I highly recommend it.
'We Were the Lucky Ones' is beautifully written. I have long been a lover of historical fiction and Hunter successfully transports her readers so well that I was surprised to find it was 2019 when I set down the book for a break. It had the perfect amount of suspense and depth. Not too dark, but enough that I felt horrified and angry all over again at the injustice caused and atrocities that took place during the Holocaust.
The characters are artfully written and developed. Be warned, oh reader, this author does follow six viewpoints. This was not a negative for me. I don't mind having to use my mind when I read. I was so drawn to each character that I was happy when I would turn the page to find I would be visiting another in the next chapter.
© 2019 by Julie Jeffery Manwarren. All rights reserved.
75 years ago, (not so long ago), a war was being waged to end the systematic extermination of a people. So, to the brave ones who left their home and loved ones to do what is right, who have been called the greatest generation, Thank You.
Our quiet, peaceful days were bought by their loudest and their longest ones.
General Dwight Eisenhower, in his address to troops before they invaded the beaches of Normandy, said "The eyes of the world are upon you." Today, let our eyes turn to them again.
Can I challenge you to do something? Never pass a veteran without a thank you. You see them. They wear their hats or jackets with their branch of service and war fought. Look them in the eye. It only takes a minute. Some are still fighting battles we know nothing about.
We are now losing more than 300 WWII vets in the United States every day. So, as you shop at the store, stop in at your bank, as you walk in the park in freedom blood bought, and today on June 6 and every day, be thankful. It costs you nothing to point to that veteran's hat and recognise his service even if you don't recognise his face and say,
Thank you, for your service to our country."
- June 6, 2019