I was not around for D-Day. Hell, my parents were not even born yet for it!
Yet, much like with the rest of World War II, these events grew to the status of legend, so that you kind of grew up under their shadow, even as late as during my own childhood in the eighties, predominately.
There are times when you view these things as history, and it remains relegated to this status. The problem with that, of course, is that you cannot change history, which means that it seems like an immovable object of sorts, like the events were etched in stone.
In truth, of course, that was far from the case.
I remember the first time I watched "Saving Private Ryan:", and just beginning to really appreciate just how incredibly frightening, and far from certain, that day would have been to those who were there. Many of the soldiers were simply mowed down by Germans in what seemed almost impregnable positions (although they were, in fact, overtaken). Others, as the movie so graphically depicted, lost limbs.
All sorts of stories have endured, and lasted many decades now. Again, World War II was one of the most significant events in world history. When I think about it, and just how dramatically, and quickly, the maps changed, and how many millions of people had their lives severely effected (and sixty million people overall were killed!), and you think of all of the major battles that took place, including the bloodiest war in history between the Soviets and the Germans on the Eastern Front! How quickly technology advanced in such a short period, and all of it geared for war, with ever increasing military power, culminating in the detonation of the atomic bomb, and two of those bombs being dropped on Japan. It really is just staggering!
And D-Day was certainly not the least of these! It might sound cliche to say, but soldiers gave their life and limbs to gain a foothold on the western front of the European continent, in the fight against what my father once termed a "truly evil empire".
So, on this, the 72nd anniversary of D-Day, I take a moment to recognize the sacrifice of those brave soldiers who were there on the beaches of Normandy on that day 72 years ago.
Here are some links to the story of the 70th anniversary of D-Day:
70 years after D-Day, she hears dad's stories anew Associated Press By BETH J. HARPAZ
D-Day veterans: The last voices of the longest day
D-day landings scenes in 1944 and now – interactive by Peter Macdiarmid and Jim Powell of The Guardian, June 1, 2014: