Greetings and salutations, Dear Reader. It’s almost midday in New Hometown, Florida on Sunday, June 6, 2021. It is going to be a hot day on this, the 77th anniversary of D-Day. Currently, the temperature is 86˚F (35˚C) under cloudy skies. With the wind blowing from the southeast at 11 MPH (17 KM/H) and humidity at 53%, the heat index is 96˚F (35˚C). Today’s forecast calls for partly sunny skies and a high of 91˚F (33˚C), which means it’s likely that the feels-like temperature out in the open will be “Africa hot.” Tonight, we can expect scattered showers and a low of 75˚F (24˚C). Today’s Air Quality Index (AQI) is 34 or Good.
As I mentioned earlier, today marks the 77th Anniversary of D-Day (June 6, 1944), when Allied forces under the command of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast in France. Beginning shortly after midnight with a night airborne assault by three airborne divisions on the eastern and western extremes of the invasion area, Operation Overlord was the largest amphibious operation in history, involving over 5,000 transports, landing craft, and warships and over 175,000 troops.
Overlord – which was the code name for the main campaign – was a collection of individual operations, each one with its own code name – the 101st Airborne Divisions parachute drop was code-named Albany, while the 82nd Airborne’s was code-named Boston, for instance – intended to crack through Adolf Hitler’s vaunted Atlantikwall and create a beachhead in German-occupied France. The Allies’ first order of business was to establish a foothold on the Continent, create a lodgment area from which the American, British, and Canadian armies could build up a sufficiently-large force to break out into the rest of France and liberate Western Europe while at the same time taking the war into the heart of Nazi Germany itself and destroy Hitler’s tyrannical regime.
The story of D-Day has been told and re-told many times in many books, documentaries, lectures, and fictional films and TV dramas. June 6, 1944 has, at least in the case of the winning side’s nations, has thus become the stuff of near mythologization, and so many of its real-life facts are often buried in misinterpretations that historians of the 21st Century are still striving to find a way to tell the story of D-Day as accurately as possible without being accused of altering the narrative to fit individual authors’ personal agendas or, worse, political correctness.
I’m not a historian, although I am a history buff and have a particular interest in World War II and its aftermath. So I won’t try to retell the story of D-Day in this post; most of the time when I write in A Certain Point of View, Too, my thoughts are off-the-cuff unless I choose to review a book or a movie or write about politics or current events. Stream-of-consciousness writing serves me well in some pieces, but not for something as important as the history of the D-Day invasion and the 77-day campaign that followed in France.
What I will say is that we who live in the aftermath of the Second World War and its sequel, the Cold War should keep in mind that no matter how bad things seem now – with the COVID pandemic, political divisiveness, and the often-toxic environment on Facebook and other social media – the men and women who served in the American, British, Canadian, Free French, and other Allied militaries saved the planet from being dominated by the evil of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich, Benito Mussolini’s Fascist Italy, and the militaristic regime of the Empire of Japan.
And while it is true that the end of those odious and murderous regimes was made possible by an alliance of convenience with the equally odious and murderous Communist regime led by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin and did not end with an And they all lived happily ever after of peace and human brotherhood, we have avoided another global cataclysm along the lines of World War II.
So, even if you are not happy with the way things are now, no matter what your particular religious, political, or socio-cultural beliefs are, be thankful that the Allies were able to pull off the D-Day invasion and helped end Nazi rule over most of Europe. And be sure to spare a moment, however brief it might be, to remember the men and women of D-Day, especially the 4,114 Allied soldiers, sailors, and airmen who sacrificed their lives so that others would live in freedom.