On this day of all days, I think it would be remiss of me not to pay homage to the men and women who took part in D-Day. As everyone knows, today is the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings which saw about 135,000 Allied troops take part in the largest ever amphibious assault. Around 10,000 of those paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Just think, if they hadn’t taken place, or if the end result had turned out differently, what kind of society we might be living in today? Whilst ours may not be perfect, the alternative doesn’t bear thinking about.
So, to all the men and women who took part in the planning and the actual landings, I am truly grateful. It must have been hell on Earth.
On a personal note; I know very little about my family history. What sketchy bits of info I have are as follows: My great uncle fought in Burma with the Chindits against the Japanese; my paternal grandfather was a bomb disposal engineer during the Blitz; my maternal grandfather was in the Black Watch and they fought in Crete, North Africa and Normandy; and my step-grandfather was Ukrainian, fought for the Soviet Red Army, was captured by the Germans and spent the rest of the war in a POW camp.
Watching the D-Day commemorations today made me feel very humble and quite emotional. This was a war in which we really didn’t have any other option but to fight. (Whether we could have avoided it in the first place at the Treaty of Versailles, is quite another matter.)
The combatants of D-Day deserve our never-ending gratitude, not because they fought for a king, or a country, but because they fought to ensure we had freedom from tyranny.
Thank you, to you all.