[cross-posted from my personal blog because it’s so damn important]
Today marks seventy years since the Normandy landings which pretty much swung the Second World War for the Allies. A huge amount of preparation went into the offensive, which was delayed until just he right moment. Technological advances were made, tactics changed and intelligence scrutinised.
But overall, it was the bravery of thousands of men and women who made it possible and made it work. Sickening numbers didn’t make it back. Many didn’t make it as far as the beaches.
Every single one was a hero. Every. Single. One. Whether they made it back or not, they deserve to be thanked, remembered, immortalised.
The Allied soldiers who assaulted the beaches. Men from so many countries, including many Irish who, if they didn’t surrender their lives, surrendered their citizenship upon their return for daring to take the British side in the conflict.
So often forgotten or vilified for their “capitulation”, the brave men and women in the French Resistance. Without them, so much intelligence necessary to make the assaults would have been impossible to obtain.
Women who maybe didn’t make it to the front line back in those days, but who worked in munitions factories – many losing their lives due to the working conditions. And the many who were every bit as important to the work done at Bletchley Park as their male counterparts, decoding German transmissions.
Take two minutes today and ask yourself – “Could I be that brave? Could I actually imagine the sheer, staggering terror of being floated towards military bombardment in a tin can while seasick? Then fighting for my life afterwards?”
I know I couldn’t.
Thank you. All of you. You will not be forgotten.