Friday, 6 June 2014

~~~We Will Remember~~~


Gentle Reader~~~Seventy years ago today, men, women, and children were waking up across the Shires of Britain with an inkling that something important was happening, but only a few knew with certainty.  Seventy years ago today, to the hour that I am writing this, the serving men of those Shires were landing on the beaches of Normandy, along with members of the Allied Forces, in one of the bloodiest battles of WWII, being mercilessly wiped out in their thousands, yet still fighting forward in what became a pivotal point of that war.  Today, commemorations of that day are happening on both sides of the English Channel.

I am sitting here with tears streaming involuntary down my face out of immense respect and a debt of gratitude to those who gave their lives that day so that you and I can sit in freedom in our own gardens across the Shires.  It is a moving and thought provoking experience watching all the events on television today, reflecting on events, those who perished on that day, seventy years ago, the lives of their families changed forever yet, in their sacrifice, they remain unchanged in the love and memories of those they left behind. 

Unlike so many, I did not have any known close relative present in the Normandy Invasion, for my Grandfathers were both too old to fight for their country in WWII and my father was not old enough. Thereby, a difference may be made to the world in that I might not be here today at all. 

I do not recall studying either of the two World Wars in school; as I remember it we stopped somewhere around the end of Victorian times and the Industrial Revolution, so anything I know is what I have picked up myself along the way, but I wish I knew more, if for no other reason than it is a way to honour those who fought and died to give us the lives we have today.  It is, however, very gratifying, to see so many young people very much aware of the roles of family members in the war.  May the memories of those who gave their lives so bravely live on as they pass the word down to their children's children.

My mother recalls the day.  She was just sixteen and a guest at a wedding happening in the village that day.  She remembers being woken up by my Grandmother {who was a member of the WRVS during WWII} and listening on the radio as the news of the Invasion broke.  Later, they attended the wedding.  What a strange and surreal day that must have been, celebrating the beginning of two lives shared while a battle, the outcome of which would affect everyone, was being fought in France.  She tells me that she is thankful in her heart that there was no television to see the horrors as they happened, it was bad enough listening to it on the radio.

I am glad that there are so many different aspects being addressed today, with remembrance of the work that needed to be done before the Invasion: the weakening of the Luftwaffe; the clearing of mines from the English Channel; the women who worked in the munitions factories; the nurses who cared for those injured and dying; the roles of women and the many ways that contributed to eventual victory.  This list goes on.  I am learning much.

One Veteran said, "those who remain are the veterans, those who died are the heroes" ~~~ in my eyes they are all heroes of the finest calibre.

Another Veteran referred to a quote {attributed to Emiliano Zapata}, "It is better to die standing than to live on your knees"  As the Veteran said, "they died standing so we did not have to live on our knees".

It is awe~inspiring to see the Veterans, and listen to all the interviews, their memories, their recollections, their perspectives.

Perhaps one of the less well known facts revealed today is that all of the headstones that mark the graves of the fallen in the cemeteries in and around the area are all identical, regardless of rank, creed, or social standing, all are equal in their sacrifice {as it rightly should be}  One of the most poignant sights is a double marker, a rare thing in a sea of single, white markers.  It was explained that this particular grave contains the remains of five Australian airmen, whose plane crashed and all on board were killed.  Although all are known, they could not be individually identified, and so were buried together with the unique double headstone.  They flew and died together, and now they lie in eternal rest together.

Today, I offer my heartfelt gratitude for the many who died for our freedom, who died for you and me ~~~


~~~We Will Remember Them~~~

12 comments:

  1. Oh Deborah, the tears are just streaming down my face as I read your post... my daddy was there at Normandy, and served our country proudly in WWII... my mama was pregnant with their first child as he went off to War, and he did not see my older sister until she was two years old when he came back home... all of the years up until his death at age 91, he would get together with his Army buddies and they would honor their fallen comrades on D~Day... thank you for remembering all who served and fought for our freedom... not many here in the US other than military families even remembers what day this is, which saddens me... I salute all of our heroes... xoxo Julie Marie

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    1. What an incredible story, Julie Marie. Thank you for sharing it. I know you have many special memories of your late father. It is a very big day here, and there is coverage from Normandy on television all day long, as there are so many things happening since early morning to mark this day. I have added a couple of extra things in the last hour, including something my Mum just told me. Debs xoxo

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    2. Honoring your father's service and sacrifice, Julie Marie. ♡

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    3. Oh Debs, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this historic day. We owe so many for their sacrifices on D-Day! The news coverage in the UK must be so interesting, important, and heartbreaking to watch. I would be watching with you! After I retired, I began volunteering to help our military families. I am learning just how much the whole family sacrifices whenever one family member is deployed. We will remember them… ♡

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  3. Oh Debs, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this historic day. I have tears in my eyes, too. We honor all of those who made sacrifices on D-Day. Today's news coverage in the UK must be so interesting, important, and heartbreaking to watch. I would be watching with you! After I retired, I began volunteering to help military families. I am learning the many ways that the whole family sacrifices when one member is deployed. We must remember them… ♡

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    1. I was a military wife for 18 years, so know much about the trials of that, although my {now ex} spouse was not deployed that often. There is a comradery within the forces that I do not think exists anywhere else. I miss it greatly. I used to volunteer within the military community too and I also miss that. It was very rewarding. Yes, we must remember them.

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    2. It's so nice to learn more about you, Debs! Did you have to move a round a lot during those years? One group I volunteer with is a group of Marine moms. (I am neither a mom nor a Marine… just someone who wants to continue to 'make a difference' in the world!) We gather together to make cards for hospitalized Marines. It's so important for the moms to be able to talk together with others who can understand what they are feeling. I just listen… and learn from them. I really admire the sacrifices that they are making for all of us. The moms tell me that I have become an 'honorary' member of the Semper Fi Family Platoon. I think of them so often! ♡

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    3. Thankfully, we didn't move very much, about once every two or three years, but you had to learn to make friends fast! I didn't like the high turnover, just as you got to really know someone it was their turn to move on. Wow, that is some accolade, and honorary member of hte Platoon!
      I don't know if this will work, but here is a link to my other blog where I shared my Flickr album on Iceland where I lived for 4 years.
      http://mycelticheart.blogspot.co.uk/2012_11_01_archive.html

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  4. Oh Debs, what a wonderful post. We on this side of the Pond share your gratitude and are so grateful we could help stop the enemy. My Uncle was in WW 2, though not in Normandy. And many I knew fought all over Europe and the Pacific. It was so wonderful that we all had a common bond for what was the right thing to do. Everyone helped. We will never forget. I have had tears in my eyes, too, when I stand in the WW 2 memorial in Washington, D.C. and read the hundreds of names of our veterans who fought in those wars. Yet, I do think the UK had the most at stake, and I am always grateful we could help fight to save your dear nation. We will remember them, too.

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    1. Thank you Jane. War memorials are always a place that raise great emotion, I think they have a very special energy that touches our hearts, even if we have no specific material connection to them. Yes, we had a huge amount at stake on D~Day. Our lives could have been so very different than they are.

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  5. Thanks for this lovely post to honor all those heroes! May we never forget!

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Thank you for stopping by today ~ I love reading your comments