In War, Resolution: In Victory, Magnanimity; In Peace, Good Will
These word from Winston Churchill, spell out all that is honourable and right about the way that Western Democracies faced up to tyranny, injustice and terror.
It was on the morning of the 6th of June that the greatest armada the world had ever conceived hit the beaches of Normandy; when General Dwight D. Eisenhower sent the Allied forces against the much-vaunted ‘Atlantic Wall’ erected by Nazi Germany. The British & Canadians swarmed ashore on Gold, Juno and Sword beaches, a concept dismissed by Adolf Hitler as ridiculous, as the Allies would be travelling nearly one hundred miles, when they could easily attempt to force landings at Calais, a much shorter distance. The American contingent hit Utah and Omaha beaches, in line with the British invaders, but sorely tried and nearly decimated at Omaha by a strong German defence network which was undamaged despite the bombing and shelling from the naval guns. The rescue from a near-defeat at Omaha was achieved with the arrival of American Rangers who broke through the defences which had bogged down the earlier forces who had slogged across nearly three hundred yards of open sand under accurate machine-gun fire and point-blank shelling.
Some 305 days later, the formal surrender of Germany was signed by Admiral Karl Doenitz as Reichsprasident, Hitler having earlier committed suicide in his bunker in Berlin.
My Uncle Pete, who died during the second day of the invasion, is remembered in a tiny cemetery in the village of Bonnebosq where his mortal remains lie alongside a German pilot, shot down around the same time as my uncle died.
I believe that his sacrifice, along with the thousands of other Servicemen, was in the service of a just cause, and those deaths have not been squandered.