We must never forget

We must never forget

My thanks to all who have commented on the D-Day portion of my “1944 70th anniversary” series of posts. I’ll finish up D-Day by pointing out that less than one week after the June 6 landings, on June 11, the beaches were fully secured by Allied troops — more than 325,000 Allied troops, 50,000 vehicles, and more than 100,000 tons of equipment had landed at Normandy. In the ensuing weeks, the Allies fought their way across the Normandy countryside in the face of determined German resistance, as well as a dense landscape of marshes and hedgerows. By the end of June, the Allies had seized the vital port of Cherbourg, landed approximately one million men and 150,000 vehicles in Normandy, and were poised to continue their march across France.

As famed WWII war correspondent Ernie Pyle wrote at the end of June: “Men and equipment were flowing from England in a gigantic stream.” Then he noticed a few German prisoners: “They stood staring as if in a trance. They didn’t say a word to each other. They didn’t need to. The expression on their faces was something forever unforgettable. It was the final, horrified acceptance of their doom.” Among my favorite post-D-Day photos is this “thanks” from a French citizen on an American grave at our cemetery in Normandy — in which the first dead were interred on June 8, 1944 — reminding us that we must, and will, never forget. Look for more 1944 “anniversary” posts soon.