D-Day remembrance

It probably hasn’t escaped your attention – I hope it hasn’t – that today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the start of the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied western Europe, and a turning point in the Second World War. This year also marks 100 years since the start of the First World War, the war that was supposed to end all wars.

Maybe you’ve watched, damp-eyed, as I have today, the aging veterans, resplendent in their smart jackets and military berets decorated with regimental pins. Naturally, their numbers are fewer now, many are in wheelchairs accompanied by carers, proud grandchildren and great-grandchildren, medals pinned to their chests.

On such sombre occasions, I ask myself: can’t the cynical turn a blind eye to the obvious political capital that is to be gained from this ceremony, pretend not to notice the patronising tone of vainglorious commentators, and temper the disgust at commemorations such as these providing yet another chance for royalty to put on their pretend medals and strut about?

Yes, I find praying for peace whilst preparing for war hypocritical. I know that world leaders in years gone by offered the same veterans little escape from the poverty and hardship of their youth. And, if Russia, not Hollywood, produced the war films we all ravenously feast upon, perhaps we’d care more about the estimated 27 million Russians killed during World War Two, some 8.7 million of them soldiers who helped bring about an Allied victory we, some more noisily than others it has to be said, cheer still.

But the one thing that annoys me more than seeing royalty and politicians whose decisions sent and indeed still send boys and now girls to early graves in foreign lands (I acknowledge that many of the leaders in attendance today have personal connections to the Second World War) is the accusation from sanctimonious apologists and do-gooders that to remember war is to somehow glorify it.

What an insult.

I don’t see celebration in war; I see regret and sadness. I see reconciliation and forgiveness, not allies and enemies. There is life and there is death, rather than victors and vanquished. I don’t accept that many other people, especially seventy years on, see anything other than these things, peppered with pride and polite curiosity. Not unlike the great war poets of 1914-1918 whose jingoism as battle progressed came to be replaced by bitterness – and for good reason.

Living, as we do, in a world of celebrity worship (the saddest thing is that it’s not even exclusively of the finest in their field but for negligible glory, often by association, the reward being time spent eating bugs in a jungle or pretending to forget that cameras watch their every move in a Big Brother house), the word ‘hero’ is so often used when it really should not have been. Those modest men who liberated Europe were and forever shall remain ‘heroes’ as I recognise the meaning of the word, and hearing again today of their fear, breakdowns and lifetimes of recurring nightmares does nothing to diminish that. I think that’s just deep respect for ordinary humans placed in unimaginable situations, managing – surviving – something they did not imagine possible when so many were less fortunate. Alas, respect is something too many lack nowadays.

Yet I saw it in those old men, even as I squirmed as they rose almost as one to their feet for President Obama, their hands, some crippled with arthritis, offering applause. They do ‘respect’ so well.

I know that President Obama’s remark – ‘we cannot live in freedom unless free people are willing to die for it,’ – will annoy some people, but he’s right. And they died in their millions for it.

Maybe we should remember that – how comparatively few of us have really had little choice but to kill or be killed since 1945 – the next time the opportunity to vote arises (bearing in mind that not everybody who fought in the two World Wars had the vote, and how across Europe recently, in elections for the European Parliament, the turnout was as low as thirteen per cent), particularly in any referendum concerning staying in or leaving the European Union, itself created in the aftermath of the Second World War and credited with delivering stability and prosperity and, above all, peace in Europe for half a century.

I certainly accept that for many in Great Britain, former Commonwealth countries and the USA in particular, all protected by sea, war is viewed differently to European nations with bitter experience of the consequences of defeat in battle and of wartime occupation.

But does it really matter today? Last year, Google was attacked for not incorporating a larger poppy in its daily Google Doodle for Armistice Day, which was “demeaning” to the war dead. Does the size of a poppy matter so much?

Some maintain that the red remembrance poppy, pinned to lapels all around the world since 1918 (the British paper ones are actually manufactured by disabled military personnel), the sales of which go to support veterans, have been hijacked by war-hungry politicians, so wearing it is to show support for their interventionist actions. Others maintain that to wear it is to mock the dead, who would be so distraught to discover how their sacrifice has been ‘turned into a fashion appendage’.

Against those who choose not to wear the red poppy in November, and condemn those who do, stand others who insist that it be worn out of political correctness. There is a white one instead, favoured by the peace movement. Funds raised from its sale originally went to help conscientious objectors in times of conflict. Of course, some people condemn those who choose this poppy.

Does the colour of a poppy matter?

I’m not even going to mention President Obama chewing gum at Ouistreham earlier today, or ask what Prince Charles did to earn a breast-full of honours (I checked, they’re not medals as such).

Again, does it really matter, today of all days? I think not.

Perhaps you’ve already seen, but for last year’s International Peace Day in September, on the D-Day landing beach of Arromanches in northern France, 9,000 silhouettes were drawn in the sand to produce a most striking visual representation of the enormous loss of life. No distinction was made between nationalities, they were known only as ‘The Fallen’. Although an extremely conservative figure, rounded down to the nearest thousand, 9,000 was based on the loss of 3,000 French civilians, 2,000 German and 4,000 Allied forces. The Arromanches Office of Tourism believes that throughout the battle of Normandy, closer to 45,000 civilians were killed and the total German casualties on D-Day are estimated as being nearer 10,000.

(I think the numbers matter.)

I also think we have a duty to ensure that each new generation understands the enormity of what today’s events are about. In our ever-changing society, with our addiction to technology, it is fact that some British schoolchildren don’t know who Winston Churchill is, nor understand the difference between France and Paris; think cheese comes from plants and tomatoes grow underground; are unable to identify even the most common species of animals and plants. The consequences of this appalling ignorance about nature, geography and history should concern us all.

I often wonder what teachers teach in schools these days (and woe betide any lesser mortal for suggesting that they make improvements), and keep hearing again and again and again, as though eventually I might believe it, that parents are too overworked and stressed and simply do not have the time to teach their children these fundamental things. Sadly, I don’t expect many will successfully impress upon their offspring the tremendous scale of loss and debt to which we owe the very eldest in our communities who we have long since so shamefully dismissed as being irrelevant and worthless.

Schools absolutely should visit Europe’s war cemeteries, certainly make better use of technology to fully convey the incredible numbers of young lives snuffed out and now marked by those immaculately tended graves and memorials. They should read the poems, attend plays, analyse and scrutinise Hollywood’s depiction of ‘war’, visit museums, sit in the old tanks, try on the gas masks and above all be glad that they will probably never be called upon to defend their homes and families as those we have commemorated today.

Of course you can be a pacifist and still wear a blood-red poppy with pride. You can be a staunch nationalist and still mourn the tremendous, often needless, loss of life. You can despise the military pomp at the ceremony I watched this afternoon, in Ouistreham, yet believe absolutely in David Lloyd George’s simple choice of words now inscribed on monuments to the unknown soldier – ‘The Glorious Dead’.

Just please don’t ever forget that in the two global conflicts memorialised this year more than most, people gave their lives not only in defence of their countries but of other’s, and this they did in the main because, for all the discussion and evangelism, they believed it right to do so for they had confidence in their cause and felt that God was on their side. If hindsight has proved them to be wrong in their calculations, it does not matter any more. We all misjudge and must never be so arrogant to believe that we cannot collectively be taken in by the promises of clever demagogues in desperate times and later come to regret it. The vast majority of us tend to follow our leaders dutifully and diligently whether we wear a uniform or not. The impressionable and fearless youth on both sides were fighting for exactly the same reasons: for their families, for their homeland, for a better future. So many lied about their age to enlist in order to be able to do so. This is the great tragedy of war.

Remember them all today, the living and the dead, and thank your lucky stars or holy deity of choice that you are unlikely to ever truly know the agony they endured, the butchery in which they partook, the guilt and shame they have lived with over the past seventy years.

Few men spoke of their experiences, and who could blame them? The sights, sounds and smells must have haunted them evermore.

This is why I feel the guns should salute them and planes should swoop low over their heads in recognition of what they did, gave and lost. The people of Normandy should turn out to embrace them and applaud them, to be humbled by them. The sad truth is that there won’t be many more opportunities to so grandly demonstrate to the last of this magnificent generation that we’re so very proud of them and to express our gratitude on a scale befitting their actions of 1944.

I doubt that any of the elderly gentlemen seen sitting with blankets across their laps on French beaches today, remembering fallen comrades with a tear in their eye, would wish war on anyone.

To honour them is not to glorify war but to thank them for having the courage to face it so that we might never again need to.

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

38 thoughts on “D-Day remembrance”

  1. France will never forget.

    Thank you (said with much humility) to all the British, US, Canadian people for your sacrifice on this day in Normandy and to all the allied troops in general.

    A few years ago we made our children visit the landing beaches, historical sites, cemeteries, museums in Normandy, so that they ‘realise’ the sacrifice of all these ‘true heroes’, so that they ‘remember’. I think all French children should visit these places at least once in their youth. Generations to come must also ‘know’ and ‘remember’.

    C’est le devoir de mémoire qui doit se transmettre de génération en génération. (=? ‘duty of remembrance and transmission’?)

    Yesterday night, our whole family watched an excellent documentary on TV, très pointu sur le plan historique, exclusively filled with archive footage, much of it never before seen, called ‘Sacrifice, du débarquement à la libération de Paris’, directed by Isabelle Clarke et Daniel Costelle. Criant d’horreur mais aussi de vérité. I don’t know if it was released elsewhere, but I would recommend it to everybody.

    1. It was very touching to see so many French children involved today. I think they will remember for as long as adults take the time to show them the sites you mention visiting and to answer their questions.

  2. WW1 war to end all wars, then WW2, now maybe WW3. Still more death.

    Sacrifice for Satan, not freedom that doesn’t exist.

  3. Another compelling blog FEd.

    As ever, you convey a rational, reasoned and articulate account of the chosen subject, which is perfectly summarised in your final sentence.

    “To honour them is not to glorify war but to thank them for having the courage to face it so that we might never again need to.”

    I have the utmost respect for the ultimate sacrifice that so many made so that we are able to enjoy the freedom they secured for us all.

    I find it an inexcusable travesty that so many of today’s recent generations are so ignorant of their heritage and treat days like this with such disdain.

    The PC brigade certainly have much to answer for. They infuriate me, to be perfectly honest.

    To a considerable extent actually, especially in view of situations like this story, where this D-Day veteran’s (so called) carers did their utmost to deny him the opportunity to participate in paying his own (probably final) respects to his fallen comrades.

    Thankfully he still had the courage he had shown 70 years earlier.

    He and his brothers in arms are the true heroes and deserve our eternal gratitude, Lest We Forget.

    1. Bernard Jordan is my new hero. He says he’ll do the same next year, if he’s still with us. For now, I hope he enjoys first class travel back home and receives a hero’s welcome. God knows he deserves to feel appreciated.

    2. Thanks for a brilliant post Fed, hello Ken. 🙂

      Doesn’t it just say so much about how little some of the younger generation know or care about how heroic Bernard and all those D Day participants were?

      They wouldn’t “enable” Bernard to go. I expect the reason was it was too expensive to provide care staff and transport from his residential home. He obviously knew his own mind and planned to go and made his own travel arrangements, so it’s not a case of him having insufficient mental or physical health.

      If it is a case of insufficient funding, we need to look at how our care system is really looking after our elderly people. All concerned in failing to support this tremendously heroic man, a war hero who surely has earned the right to appropriate care and FREEDOM should hang their heads in shame.

      Jim Peaks was thwarted by a carer and the passport authority. A once in a lifetime opportunity lost forever but the jobsworths will probably still have a job.

      Interestingly, Jim didn’t need a passport when his country sent him to Normandy 70 years ago.

      Lest We Forget, indeed Ken and Fed. It’s like we let them down after
      all they did for us. You definitely have to admire Bernard’s determination;:) What’s the betting passport/border control would have caught Jim? (Not that they’re able to catch a cold, mind you.)

      ash

  4. I believe (probably because as a child my parents told me) that people go to war to stop harm so all can live in peace.

    I remember my Grandfather’s stories of tragedy of WWI, my Uncle’s stories of tragedies of WWI and WWII and my father’s stories of tragedies of WWII. I will not even go into the wars after those.

    My sons will remember because they heard of their Grandfather’s tales of the horrors of war. Also he was laid to rest in his uniform and we visit him and my Mother at a National Cemetary. Spouses get to be together even though one served, although my Mother was a Rosie Rivertor at age 14-18, welding battleships.

    My niece went to Normandy on a High School trip. She was very moved by the losses that occurred. So if family history is passed down, then perhaps things are more personal and easier to understand. Like the Indians passing from one generation to the next their legends, stories.

    On a happy note. A veteran from WWII parachuted out of a plane over Normandy at the age of 93. In honour of his fallen comrades on this day, the 6th of June.

  5. In regards to the blog I just posted before this one.

    It is with understanding that many wars are created for the profit of certain entities and/or expansion. War is a monstrosity.

    The people just want to live in peace but some governments (countries) have other motives: Very well said by David/Pink Floyd, “Money, Is the root of all evil today”.

    But I focused on why the ordinary individual goes to war, is to help others so we can live in peace…

    Unfortunately, there always seems to be another war/conflict on the horizon.

    1. Unfortunately, there always seems to be another war/conflict on the horizon.

      I long ago decided, that there isn’t such a thing like peace. 🙁

      Taki

  6. Sorry, but chewing gum (even if it’s nicotine gum) at such an emotional commemoration ceremony filled with so many symbols, where ‘RESPECT’ is a keyword, is just rude and disrespectful (as well as taking laughing selfies at a funeral – i.e. Mandela).

    I can’t agree with the usual, easy “Who cares?”. If you want to be respected, you have to show respect first. Maybe it was just a matter of ‘different culture’, but if so, doesn’t he have staff to help him learn a few of the cultural norms in the countries he is visiting?

    Everyone else was very respectful and top class – even the children – and especially Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II, what a delicious top class lady! (I hope it’s not offending in English, it’s a respectful compliment in French.)

    I didn’t know she was a lover of flowers. On Saturday, she visited (with Prince Philip and our President) the picturesque Flower Market in the historical Ile de la Cité in Paris, which was then renamed ‘Marché Aux Fleurs Reine Elizabeth II’ in her honour. It was one of the places she visited during her first trip to France in 1948.

    I read She was then serenaded by a band from the Paris Conservatory, which struck up a lilting ‘Lil Darling’ – a jazz tune made popular by Count Basie. The Queen’s childhood nickname was Lilibet.

    How lovely.

    Total respect to you, Madame. 🙂

    1. Sorry, but chewing gum (even if it’s nicotine gum) at such an emotional commemoration ceremony filled with so many symbols, where ‘RESPECT’ is a keyword, is just rude and disrespectful (as well as taking laughing selfies at a funeral – i.e. Mandela).

      I couldn’t agree more Michèle. The little (and I mean LITTLE) respect I had left is now all but gone.

      Queen Elizabeth II is one class act — always has been and always will be (of course that’s just in my humble opinion but ever so pleased to see someone else shares my sentiments on the topic)!

    2. I can’t agree with the usual, easy “Who cares?”. If you want to be respected, you have to show respect first.

      Of course I cared, I agree with you, but the focus should be on what really matters: remembering those of all nationalities who were involved in the landings, both living and dead.

      Have to say, though, I thought Hollande might have addressed his mainly English-speaking audience in English rather than French…

    3. Well, the “Who cares?” remark wasn’t intended for you but referred to many (American) comments that I read elsewhere online. However, I still think that “remembering those of all nationalities who were involved in the landings…” includes “showing respect.”, so it matters. Sorry if what I say isn’t clear in English.

      As for Hollande, had he spoken English, I thought it might have been a nightmare for everyone (himself and the English-speaking audience). 😀

  7. It’s a privilege to be able to honour these men and women from all the nations who stood against such evil. We should never forget the ultimate sacrifice which was given on those beaches. One man set the world on fire, that’s all it takes, and it happened in the First World War. What is wrong with us human beings that we have to kill each other all the time? Dogs of war and men of hate, so true.

    Damian

  8. I think you’ve covered most of the bases, Fed.

    I also think that in this particular case we don’t need to worry too much about triumphalism, militarism, nationalism etc. Broadly speaking I believe we get these commemorations right, i.e. it is largely about the veterans and the fallen, about individual heroism and stoicism, about regret and loss and what that ultimately tells us about our values and what is really important.

    We commemorate in particular a period of Total War, unique (hopefully) to the Twentieth Century, how events impacted on everybody, to some degree. I think it is important that the UK and USA remember a time when they did “the right thing” (yes, it can be complicated and there are always other motives), that Russia suffered terribly, that Occupation is something we cannot truly understand (when Michèle reminds us that the French are truly grateful, let’s also remember just how much loss was suffered by those occupied as a direct price for their liberation) and that War is terrible, brutal and dreadful in the full meaning of those words. And that in the midst of this were acts of conspicuous, and, rather more poignantly, secret unrewarded heroism and sacrifice.

    Apropos of nothing in particular, I was reading the other day of a comment that President Truman apparently made when he heard that France (or rather De Gaulle) wished to see all US military servicemen removed from the country in the post war era ….

    “What, even those buried there?”

  9. Hello Mr Gilmour! especially from Russia!

    Nobody can forget this day and thank you for your consideration.

    Actually many more thanks for your being on this earth.. just because of your music. Our people love you too much and wish health to you for all time. Those countries brought too much sadness to us but.. but! brought Pink Floyd to us too! It was not so sad at all, still not.. but oh why we can’t meet you any more? The most lovely Russian’s comment about you: Gilmour, you’re the MAN!!! I hope one day our prayers will bring you here.

    Kiss.

  10. Fed, you said, “estimated 27 million Russians killed during World War Two, some 8.7 million of them soldiers who helped bring about an Allied victory ”

    How sad and awful it is that there is this crisis in Ukraine. See this article.

    I have to say I admire the Russian President for attending and I felt a bit sorry for him (and the Russian people) that he got the cold shoulder.

    However, I think it speaks volumes and gives us hope for a peaceful solution, that in private, the world leaders ARE talking to each other.

    I hope they remember the sacrifices all the allies made for the benefit of all and we can all be united in peace and respect for each other again.

    I do like President Obama. He seems to be a genuinely nice person.

    ash

    1. I have to say I admire the Russian President for attending and I felt a bit sorry for him (and the Russian people) that he got the cold shoulder.

      I did, too. Did you see the cameras focus on Putin and Obama, then beam the two of them – split-screen, so it looked as though they were looking at each other – onto the giant screens, to much laughter from the audience? It was very awkward. Putin looked uncomfortable, Obama looked his usual cool self, and all the time the ones we really should have been looking at were the old men seated opposite, flagging in the heat.

    2. Can’t the media be awful sometimes? You and I saw the sad side to this but those big screens put an entirely different “spin” on it. As if the two politicians were the next combatants in a boxing match and they were posturing and threatening each other. That’s the sort of feeling a lot of people may take from that image.

      Maybe they decided beforehand to behave with aloofness so that there would be no media speculation.

      ash

    3. When you say you feel “sorry for Putin and the Russian people”, I think this may grate on many Russians, and maybe even insult some of them, in a sort. I mean, you should tell these things apart. It’s all right that he got a cold welcome, Putin personally. That’s what he deserves for his actions in Ukraine (and in Russia as well). But, on the other hand, this seems somehow abnormal to me, that he as the official representative of the state which has suffered of the war more than others, got such a disregard at the commemoration.

      I don’t feel any sorry for Putin, but I do feel sorry for the Russians, alive and fallen. The Second World War, remembrance of the sacrifices – this is the cheval de bataille of Mr. Putin. He is an old hand at using the theme for maintenance of his popularity among hurrah-patriots, and not only them.

      I’m not sure if this is right that he was sort of cut with his own knife there in France. I don’t think that was the right time and the right place for European leaders to say their mute “fie” to Putin. They could find better ways to treat him in a way he deserves (and more effective really, by the way), couldn’t they?

    4. Hello Laterr. 🙂

      I sincerely apologise if I have said something that would offend the Russian people or be disrespectful to the Russian war dead.

      All the allies’ leaders were there to represent the people of their country. I felt bad, very uncomfortable that by snubbing Putin. . . at what should have been a shared grieving, supporting of our allies during all our times of remembrance and pain. . . it might appear that the people of all the other allied countries, were rejecting the Russian people too. Thus ignoring the pain and losses the Russian people suffered (27 million dead).

      Putin was there representing his people. I think the other leaders were all ill-advised to snub the Russian President, surely today’s politics have nothing to do with the alliance we had all those years ago and the shared memories we have.

      I’m no politician, I don’t know what might be effective to resolve the Ukraine problem. I can’t even understand why it has happened. I bet there are people in Russia who also wonder what is going on in the world.

      ash

  11. As a disabled veteran myself, I can tell you that most veterans just want a little respect. I come from a long line of veterans including my father who was a WWII air sea rescue pilot. We felt that it was an honor to have been able to serve our country.

    1. Veterans don’t get nearly enough respect. Maybe that’s also part of this ‘not wishing to glorify war’ obsession that we have now, partly due to not wishing to cause offence to any former foes in our increasingly multi-cultural societies. I accept that it’s human nature to tend to collectively forget the past in happier, safer and more prosperous times; but really, as much as I hate to think it, it does seem to me that once that duty has been served, interest switches to the next lot who are willing. That’s unforgivable.

  12. I read it is estimated that globally a total of over 60 million people died in WWII and of those 60 million, more were civilians than soldiers.

    A special thought from me today for all these poor, anonymous civilians – who rarely get any honour or attention – as today 10 June 2014 marks the 70th Anniversary of The Massacre of Oradour-sur-Glane (village in France, Haute Vienne).

    On that day, troops of the 2nd Waffen-SS Panzer Division killed 642 people including 246 women and 207 children and destroyed the entire village without giving any reason for their action to the inhabitants.

    The men were locked in several barns. ‘The soldiers began shooting at them, aiming for their legs so that they would die slowly. Once the victims were no longer able to move, the soldiers covered their bodies with fuel and set the barns on fire.’ Can you imagine their suffering?

    The women and children were locked in the church. The SS men threw grenades through the windows of the church, shooting those who sought to escape the flames.

    Civilian casualties must not be forgotten either.

    1. I was sickened to read this Michele. I think it is extremely important to be reminded of these sorts of things because we should never forget man’s inhumanity to man. This kind of disrespect for others is the most vile and heinous of crimes.

      I’ve noticed this in the news recently, I’ve also noticed other stories of genocide, and atrocities.

      I hate to think about it all. I hate the disrespect, the callous disregard humans can feel for others.

      We frequently say, life is precious. We go to great lengths to protect life. Yet it is amply demonstrated day after day that life is cheap. Humans are a throwaway commodity in many parts of the world.

      For the sake of self preservation, of my sanity, I know I have to try to put some of these things out of my head. For the life of me, I cannot comprehend how some people can commit these terrible acts and still live with themselves. Crucify a baby?????

      The thing is, it’s not just one random “mad axe, chainsaw massacre, madman” doing these things. It’s many. That’s not mad, that’s calculated. What on earth?

      ash

      1. It beggars belief to imagine that anybody, with exactly the same potential for love and kindness as you or I, could be capable of such truly disgusting acts.

    2. Agreed Fed, I think they lose that capacity. I think once they have gone over that edge, they are changed forever.

      I experienced domestic violence many years ago. The man I trusted implicitly, had children with, turned on us. Once his respect for me was gone, it never came back. I tried to hold our marriage together but he worked against me, undermined me, took delight in embarrassing me whether in private, but worse, in public he would humiliate me. He had lost all respect for me. He did things to harm the children to elicit a response from me to provoke a verbal or physical fight. As I said, he enjoyed some bizarre delight in hurting us.

      (So that my friends here know… 🙂 ) We left him. I stuck it out for a while because I thought he must have a mental illness and that I should help him.

      He continued his aggressive behaviour, through written correspondence, text messages, the courts.
      He was perfectly nice and charming to anyone else but treated me, the mother of his children, with utter contempt. He’s kept the bitter hatred he feels alive by never seeing our children, here’s the nasty, spiteful part 17 years later: his sister always sends birthday and Christmas cards to my children but they are always in another envelope, addressed in his handwriting. Goodness knows what reason he’s given her for why she can’t have my address herself.

      Maybe I’m a bit biased in my opinion because of what happened but I really, truly believe that once respect has gone. . . there is no going back. It’s gone forever.

      That group in Africa who have taken those girls, they have no respect for those girls or their families. It’s just plain badness to terrorise and control people.

      ash

      P.S. I can’t fathom what the anti rape in warfare movement is all about. The people who do it don’t give a flying f**k about Geneva Conventions. Does anyone else wonder why this is getting media attention? I always think it’s to hide some other story “they” don’t want the public to notice.

      1. 🙁

        ‘Society’ (whatever that means today) tries to reassure us that such bullying, paranoid, obsessive people are in the minority and it’s better for us to accept with a sigh and shake of the head that these people exist everywhere and there’s nothing much we can do about it. It almost makes me wonder momentarily if things weren’t better back in simpler times when someone gave these people a taste of their own medicine instead of pandering to them. I do feel they get a hell of a lot more in terms of help, support, guidance and funding than the victims of their nastiness ever do – and that’s wrong.

        Oh to live in simpler times.

  13. Sorry to be out of the loop Fed. Computer issues.

    I was very impressed with the DDay celebration. The veteran patience still shows, waiting for dignitaries to arrive after their lunch and drink break. Chewing gum issue aside, I agree that is as rude as one can be on the world stage.

    We’re landing early July to visit London, Brighton, Abridge, Oxford and hopefully Cambridge. Our 3rd time together to visit my better half’s family. Cheerio. In the mix for World Cup too. Go England. Tough match against Italia Saturday. TY.

  14. Apologies for jumping really late into the discussion.

    Yes, I sobbed buckets, as I always do with anything having to do with the Liberation of Europe by those fine men and women, military and civilians. I had family on all sides of this terrible conflict which makes it especially personally painful and conflicting. Thank you, merci, grazie…. And for the record, I agree with everything Michèle said about respect (or lack thereof) from world leaders. And thank you also, Michèle for highlighting the massacre at Oradour, just one of the horrific wounds of tyrannical occupation.

    Nous n’oublierons jamais – We will never forget.

    Bella

    1. Cheers, Canada. Nous n’oublierons jamais le courage et sacrifice de vos – si jeunes – soldats notamment à Juno Beach.

      Merci.

  15. Not all soldiers in WWII were killers of the innocent. My father was an air sea rescue pilot who received many commendations for rescues under fire. This said, I will tell you why so many veterans are called the walking wounded.

    On some of his rescues, my father went in under fire in a helicopter with 2 bays. There would be 3 wounded and my father had to decide which 2 stood the best chance of surviving their wounds and he had to leave the other wounded man not knowing if he could make it back in time to get that third man. He suffered for the men he couldn’t save for the rest of his life. Those faces haunted his dreams every night and kept him from feeling any joy for the many he saved.

    You didn’t have to die to be a casualty of war.

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