Remembering The Battle Of Normandy

He is ninety-three years old. My husband and I met him only recently. I didn’t ask if I could use his name so it is omitted here. He is a veteran of World War II and remembers vividly his time of service in the Army. He retells his experiences at the Battle of Normandy, 68 years ago in 1944.

As he talked, he smiled much and told of his recent experiences of being in the hospital and letting himself out. He still clearly has a mind of his own and has opinions about the world situation today.

He remembers that he was drafted into the infantry for what was to be one year of service.

Troops land at Normandy beaches.

But then, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and his stint in the Army lasted for five years. He clearly remembers the Battle of Normandy, in France, during the summer of 1944. Even today, it remains the largest seaborne invasion in history. It involved nearly three million troops crossing the English Channel from England to Normandy in occupied France.

His hair is white and wavy, his blue eyes still bright with excitement and his smile, warm and friendly.His service for his country is not, yet, forgotten. It’s reported that less than fifteen percent of the Allied forces coming aboard the ships had ever seen combat. With remorse he recalled how once some soldiers killed their first enemy, they were unable to do it again. “They would wander over the battlefield until they were killed,” he said.

He recalled being dropped at the Normandy coast in eight feet of water. Operation

The invasion of Normandy.

Overlord was the codename for the Allied invasion phase. When a secure foothold was made it became known as Operation Neptune. Twelve allied nations provided fighting units and the battle began months before the invasion when bombers began to pound the Normandy coast to destroy transportation links and disrupt the German army’s build-up of their military strength.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower moved his forces 100 miles across the English Channel, a task of magnitude never attempted before. His enemy was the weapon-and-tank-superior German army commanded by Erwin Rommel, one of the most brilliant generals of the war. Military intelligence was an important part of the Normandy invasion. British and American cryptographers working in London deciphered coded messages believed to be unbreakable.

A number of years ago, we visited the coast of Normandy where the  troops came

Allied Cemetery at Normandy.

ashore on June 6, 1944. Evidence of the concrete bunkers in which the Germans were entrenched still remain today. There is no official casualty figures for D-Day but it is estimated that more than 425,000 Allied and German troops were killed, wounded or went missing during the battle. The Allied cemetery at Normandy with its breathe taking rows and rows of thousands of white crosses is a stark reminder of the lives given to secure our freedom here in America and for twelve other nations.

The old gentleman has vivid memories. Indeed, this soldier will never forget the Battle of Normandy, neither should we!

8 thoughts on “Remembering The Battle Of Normandy

  1. War is a terrible thing, and it has always been a part of life. People from different contries have been at war since before the time that Christ was born. Many have given their lives for our country’s freedom and for the ideals that the US was founded on. Serving in the military means trememdous dedication, loyalty, honor and great sacrafice. I know that your World War II Veteran would agree with all of this. Freedom is never free and our military men have sacraficed much for all of us, so that we may all live better lives. Throughout all of history there are those who have layed down their lives during times of war; and we should all remember and honor them. I have seen the cemetary in Arlington, and the grave stones seem to stretch out as far as the eye can see. Each and every one of them represents a life lost….a life given up for the freedom of this great nation. Each grave stone represents a family. Each and every soldier who has died has touched the hearts and lives of countless others; and their great sacrafice is profoundly felt by many. Each grave stone in a military cemetary is representative of a mother who has lost her child and father who has lost his son or daughter! Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if there was an end to war? Wouldn’t it be a miracle if we could all live in peace. May God bless those who have served in our military and also bless their families!

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  2. June 6,1944 the 29th Division played a decisive role in the Allied Invasion securing Omaha Beach from the invasion of German occupied France. D-Day was the turning point and the beginning of the end for Hitlers Nazi Germany. Like most…my husband was a teenager facing the horrors of war that still haunt him to this day. A replacement in Vire in Aug…fighting through Northern France…securing the submarine base in Brittany Peninsula continued north…wounded and unable to get medical attention…continued fighting. Men of the 29th said that the German shelling at Wurselen (Aachen) was worse than anything they had experienced in WW2. Joseph Balkoski has written about the 29th…check out his books. Allan was wounded again in late Oct. during this fierce battle in Wurselen when the 116th Infantry was attached to the 30th Infantry. He developed cancer of the throat in his 20’s from a bullet that went undected…and a hernia in his 50’s that also ended up being a bullet…the bullet had fractured his hip…I can’t express to you the cost of war…live a life that builds people up…not one that breaks people down.. Our thoughts and prayers are with those still fighting for the freedoms we enjoy today. Thanks for reading about one young soldiers life. The losses and the gains.

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    • Hi Karen: It is hard to believe all that our soldiers go through.I salute your husband and his service to our country. He has suffered much for it. I always enjoy your comments. I watch for them with each post. Stay well. Blessings to you and yours.

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  3. Hi
    above I do read: ‘ I love to hear from you!”

    It’s am a bit sad, that my email was not worth any answer.
    Have a nice weekend!
    Stefan

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    • Sorry! I think I overlooked your comment because it was about an earlier post, but I truly enjoyed reading it and appreciate yours and others interests in Normandy – an event we should hold dear to our hearts.

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