Thursday, June 6, 2013


British Commandos Coming Ashore in The Longest Day
I've made D-Day posts here for a couple of years now (such as this post, and this post), and if you're reading this, it's a day that needs little explanation. The battle to take back Western Europe from the German army was a struggle of such epic proportions, it makes the Iliad look like a schoolyard scuffle. Although the Russians might have done the bulk of the fighting and killing of Axis forces over the course of the war (the vast percentage of German combat dead occurred along the Eastern Front), there really is no more iconic symbol for the fight to defend the free world from Nazism than the beach landings along the Normandy coastline.

I've recently picked up Rick Atkinson's latest book, The Guns at Last Light, the conclusion to his Liberation trilogy (I wrote a review of the first book, An Army at Dawn). I'm going to take a moment today to begin reading Atkinson's work and reflect on the battle for Normandy, and I encourage everyone else to take a moment and imagine the sort of courage it must have taken to be in one of those landing craft - scared nearly senseless, soaking wet, weighed down by your gear and weapons, possibly about to enter combat for the first time.

From The Longest Day
Whenever life throws a curve ball, it's worth it to take a moment, and ask yourself - compared to wading ashore hundreds of meters under a hail of mortar, artillery, and MG-42 fire, how does this stack up?

Makes that traffic jam or accidentally deleted file look a lot less important...


Chris said...

Was having similar reflections last night watching Saving Private Ryan. Harrowing.

Addendum: endlessly retrying these goddamn captcha things will make a man want to invade SOMEwhere, though….

Charles Gramlich said...

I was just mentioning Operation arrowhead on another post about D. Day. Although not about D. Day, I'm enjoying the action in the story. Pre-D Day, if you will.