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Friday, June 7, 2013

D-Day.........the beginning of the end.

Many films have been made of the Normandy Invasion but nothing can compare to the horror of being there. A friend of mine was on that beach and was severely wounded. He has live a life of pain and suffering. Oh he doesn't talk about it to anyone but I know his story from his wife. He was injured and spent hours under a tank waiting for help. For many years after the war he was a paraplegic but eventually regained the use of his limbs. He almost didn't make it, it was pure luck that when he was recovered and thought dead, someone heard him grunt as they threw him on the pile of dead. I wont say he was lucky, but he lived and lived a good long life now in his 90s he is in a nursing home and still in pain. The price of our freedom.
My Uncle was killed at Dunkirk, on the beach there and is buried in France. Some day I hope to make the trip to see that cemetery.
My Grandmother had 10 children and only one died. She had 5 boys and four went away to war. They all came back. Two served in the desert war and my father Harry, who was being trained for desert war was sent off to Singapore when Japan entered the war. He was captured there and spent the rest of the war in a Japanese prison camp, it changed his life forever. His brother in law was also captured as was a nephew of his. They all made it home. The tales of horror never repeated unless in a round about way while telling someone else's story. Or as is the British way, seeing humour in odd places, telling some funny stories.
My Dad told me about being set to guard the dead. Apparently the Japanese would put a dead person in a wooden coffin and leave a couple of people to stand guard (I didnt get that part of the story) .....one night Dad was standing guard with a young Japanese soldier/person. Well when the body settles air can escape and the body stiffens. In the silence of the night noises came from inside the coffin as the person inside expelled air from his lungs and his fingers scratched the bottom of the coffin. The young Japanese man went "white as a sheet" and ran screaming from the room, leaving good old Harry in a state of mirth. Being expert himself he knew all was well and didn't enlighten the poor young man.
Charlie McDonald who lived next door was a paratrooper. He was dumped over France prior to the invasion. Charlie was a very small man with a big heart. The most unlikely of hero's. No one could envision him jumping from a plane, but jump he did and he came home to tell the tale. We only hear of what the Americans did but they were only a part of that day. Americans do not like the French, and I hear a lot of stories about how they "let" the Germans conquer them and "walk right in" .............that is not the case at all and anyone who reads their history will know that. If it were not for the French resistance the invasion would not have been possible, or at least would have been much more difficult. Sometimes its better to live to fight another day. Many French people who were not in the Resistance helped the British and Americans along the way, especially the people out in the French countryside, and many died because they helped. Unless you have been invaded, please do not rush to judgement. America didn't enter the war until the end and certainly didn't win it single handed as many seem to think. I deeply resent some of the attitudes I have come across since living here. "We saved your arses" is a common misconception. No, you did not. In fact if America had not been attacked we probably would have fought a lot longer but would not have been fighting the Japanese as well. Who knows............Whatever........my intent is not to speculate on that but to thank those men who did go to war and loose their youth and die on foreign soil. They were young men, very young men. They gave it all and defeated Hitler and those who came home were never the same. War is never good, but that one had to be fought there was no other choice. Today we go for all the wrong reasons but that is another story.


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Thank you

2 comments:

Kay G. said...

Hear, hear. Thank you so much for this comment. I also honor those who fought in this war.
Also, I am glad to see you remarks about France. No one can say a word against France around me, it is not allowed. One needs to read more than just listen to what is said to know the true story.
If you get a chance, there is a really good book called "An American Nightingale" by Bob Welch.It is about the first nurse who died in France, but it talks a great deal about what is was like for the French people.

laurajane said...

A wonderful post,I was born in 1948,only two years after the war,so it was very much in peopkes minds.I do remember rationing ,must have been about 5 ish when that stopped.My dad and hubby's dad were both in Burma.
Hubby's uncle was in Dunkirk,and His mum always said he was a completely different boy when he returned,and was never the same again.
I find it very sad that our youngsters no nothing about WW1 or WW2.the schools are far more interested in other people's history.
Will finish now,because I can feel a (soap box)coming on.
Laura xx