“The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.”

The rain stayed all day yesterday, got heavy at times then finally stopped in the late afternoon. Today is sunny and warm with a breeze that sways the leaves. The clouds, though, keep coming and going, but the sun seems to win each time. I have errands to do. On a day like today, I don’t mind.

My dad served in the navy during World War II. He enlisted the day he turned seventeen because he didn’t need his mother’s or father’s permission any more. His ship plied the North Atlantic ferrying supplies. It was sunk, but he was rescued. The cold water did great damage to his legs so my dad spent a long time at a hospital in England. He was eighteen and to him war was an adventure. He never even told his parents he was in the hospital. They had to contact the Red Cross to try and find him. One of his memories, one of the few he shared, was about gliding a bicycle down the hill from the hospital to a pub. His legs were in casts so he couldn’t pedal. Someone would drive him back up the hill. During the Battle of the Bulge he was still in the hospital. He told us huge numbers of wounded were coming in and saying they were getting overrun by the Germans. That’s one of the things he remembered most.

My parents and my sister and I traveled together one year to Belgium and the Netherlands. At one point we were in the Ardennes where there were still tank traps looking like concrete teeth rising from the forest floor. My dad was in awe at being in the places he had heard about from the soldiers he had met in the hospital. At Malmedy he told us about the massacre of American soldiers by the Germans. He sounded both sad and angry. In Belgium, my dad wanted to see Bastogne where we stayed at a hotel overlooking Gen. McAuliffe Square, named in tribute to the man who told the Germans, “Nuts,” when he was asked to surrender the town. We ate dinner one night at a restaurant in the hotel where American officers had been billeted. We walked around the Mardasson Memorial which honors American soldiers who were killed, wounded or captured in the Battle of the Bulge. We visited the World War II Museum. My father said very little. Though he had never fought here, he held all of it in great reverence.

Today is the 70th Anniversary of D-Day.



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14 Comments on ““The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.””

  1. Hedley Says:

    Anecdotal history is fraught with danger of inaccuracy and for so many years the story of Eric was handed down by word of mouth. We knew he was elite, a paratrooper who went in on D Day, we knew he was to perish early in 1945 at the age of 22. His descendants are scattered across the world and most reflections are of the quieter times before the war.
    The internet changes all that. His bravery and courage are documented. His X Troop and their records still subject to restrictions by the British Government, Our verbal history was accurate. I guess I am a little surprised. We will probably never know the full extent of his activities as a Commando
    My cousin in Basel and I worry that the family will be further fractured as our children have met but are not close. Today we remember a very brave young man and so many others of all nationalities.

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I watched programs last night and still get goosebumps when I hear the day described as the greatest land and air assault in the history of mankind and was taken by the memories of the men, now so old, who landed at Normandy and still tear up as they describe the landing.

      No young man should perish at 22, but he probably knew what could happen when he chose to be a commando. I don’t know if I could have made such a bold, brave decision.

      Those white crosses are so many.

  2. olof1 Says:

    It’s our national day here today so very little is vritten about D day, strange because there’s usually lots about it every year normally but then again, this year we have two new princesses and I guess that’s more important 🙂 Besides our part in WW2 wasn’t something we like to remember, we may have been calling ourselves neutral but we did help to prolong the war with at least six months by selling iron to the germans so they could produce more bombs. Nothing we had to do but they wanted to make more money I guess.

    his year it’s
    years since we last participated in a war, we helped to bring down Napoleon. We wanted Finland back from Russia but since they had changed side and they too helped to bring down Napoleon, so we got Norway instead. Guess if they got surprised since they already had chosen a king and was on the way of braking out from the ubnioun they had with Denmark. Denmark helped Napoleon and since that side lost we got Norway 🙂

    Have a great day!

    • katry Says:

      Roosevelt, on the other hand, with lend lease found a way to help England and skirt the laws of neutrality.

      I think it is especially poignant here as the US landing beach at Omaha was a bloodbath. So many veterans die each day and fewer return each year to Normandy.

      The Us seems to be at war always.

  3. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    My dad had planned to visit Ireland while he was stationed in England and he was on his way to do that when he was called back because all leave was cancelled.
    He landed somewhere on Normandy Beach on D Day plus 6. I haven’t found out which beach he landed on. I’m not sure he knew.
    One of the few unfunny war stories he told was about being in the landing craft waiting for the ramp to drop and hearing gunfire from somewhere. He was 24 years old and a sergeant and quite literally shitting his pants. He and his men drove around behind enemy lines all night long completely clueless as to where they were but it worked out okay for them. He fought on through France and parts of Germany. After VE Day, he was on the turn around to the Pacific but Japan surrendered and so he came home.
    He said he had no wish to visit France or Germany to see what they were supposed to look like but he did regret that he never got to Ireland.

    Today is mostly cloudy with bursts of sun.
    I have mowed the reseeded area that I don’t want the lawn guys to touch because their equipment is too heavy. I have watered it, too. And I even cleaned off the lawn mower. It’s electric so it only gets dirty, not smelly and oily.
    The laundry is in the dryer.
    The bills are all paid.
    My, I’m productive today. I think this deserves ice cream. 🙂
    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      Wow, I just watched a program on the landing and it was a day by day summary of what had happened. He might have landed on Omaha as even after the first day most of the Americans were landing there.

      At 24, he must have felt like an old guy. I totally understand his reaction to the gunfire. Not knowing if you’ll survive is beyond comprehension. I read one guy’s story, and he was first off and made it safely but the guys following him numbers 2-7 did no but number 8 also survived. He said it was just luck if you lived or died on D-Day.

      The same weather here. I had blood drawn, went to the dump then CVS, came home and went out and emptied water out of the deck candles. I too get accomplished.

      Have a wonderful evening.

  4. Birgit Says:

    D-Day, the beginning of the end of this cruel war we started.
    Except for a few idiots German people are thankful that American and other soldiers helped to end WW2. Too many people suffered and died, not only in Europe.
    Now it’s difficult to imagine that our ancestors fought against each other. Not personally against each other but in general. My father was sent to fight against Russians in the last year of WW2 when he was still a kid, as part of the so-called last reserve. He survived war and 4 years in a Siberian camp physically but not mentally.
    It’s a shame to see that fascist or right-wing-populist parties got so many votes in the last European election, just protest or not, the past shouldn’t be forgotten and we should have learned and still learn the lessons. We have to do our best to prevent hate and wars.
    [I wasn’t sure whether to comment at all today, I hope no one is offended.]

    • katry Says:

      The US and Germany have been allies far longer than they were enemies during the war. I can’t think anyone would be offended.

      I know that kids, like your father, were the last line of defense for Germany, many in the Battle of the Bulge. It is horrific the time he spent in a camp, especially in Siberia.

      I worry when I see the growth of the right wing parties in Europe, and I wonder how people have so easily forgotten.

    • Hedley Says:

      I am very glad that you commented. I wanted to post today but it was specifically on my mind not to upset you.
      My Maternal family comes from Ulm Germany and you might be able to guess a little bit about our history and who Eric really was.
      I cannot imagine what your Father had to endure as one of the lost after the war.

      The World Cup will be a much easier time to air expression

      • Birgit Says:

        Thanks, Hedley, no need to be considerate, truth has to be told.
        I’ve heard about the mixed X troop so I can guess about family history, but sorry I don’t know enough to guess who Eric was. 22 is too young to die, there was so much suffering in these dark times.
        Yes, writing about soccer is definitely easier.

  5. flyboybob Says:

    Thank God for the brave men who stormed the beaches at Normandy 70 years ago and began the end of the tyranny of Fascism. In addition to the casualties from combat we should never forget the millions of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, people with disabilities and anyone else the Nazis considered subhuman who were exterminated in places like Aushwitz. Hitler told the world his plans in Mein Kampf and still the Geman people voted him into office. Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeate it.

    I am enjoying the beautiful weather here in Toronto. Tomorrow I return home to temperatures in the mid 90s. The BlueJays have the best record in baseball and are playing the Cards tonight at home. It’s good news for our friends in Canada where NHL teams from the land where Hockey was invented are not playing for Lord Stanley’s cup.

    • katry Says:

      I was jus tinkling about yours you hadn’t beed by in a while.

      I will never fathom the deaths of millions of people because of their religion, their nationality, their physical and mental conditions or their sexual orientation. 6 Million Jews alone is mind boggling.

      The Germans want world glory again and wanted to bury the embarrassment of the first World War armistice. Their taking of Paris went a long way to do that.

      I remember when few teams had American hockey players. Now they are as talented and well trained as their Canadian counterparts.

      We have having lovely weather this weaken. Low 70’s in the days and 50’s at night.

      Glad you’re back!

  6. Jay Bird Says:

    God bless them all, living and dead, who participated in “The Great Crusade”. D-Day was an amazing military operation and an example of inspiring courage.

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