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Date: 06 June 2014 (for 06 June 1944)

Today's Topic: D Day - 70th Anniversary Celebration 1944-2014

Triggers: Every year on this day, the heartfelt gratitude, tears, sadness, love, passion, and all the other triggers and emotions that I feel for the loss and sacrifice of so many brave men and women

My Grump: That one madman, and the sheep that followed him, brought the world to this terrible place, is the saddest thing of all

Some things should never be forgotten. This is one of those moments in history which is still within living memory for many and painful for any of us that understand the horror of this day. But it is also important to remember that this few hours of blood soaked history, was a turning point in a war that had already been raging for five long years.

Today is the 70th anniversary of the commencement of Operation Neptune, the Normandy Landings which are commonly known as D-Day. A 1,200-plane airborne assault preceded an amphibious assault involving more than 5,000 vessels. Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on 6 June 1944, and more than three million allied troops were in France by the end of August.

I find myself completely humbled by the courage and bravery of the young men who undertook this task. They may not have thought so at the time, in fact, I have no idea how they felt, what they were thinking, or how they ever managed to do what they did, because my generation (I was born in '58) have never had to face the horror of war, unless we chose to join up.

What these men did has given subsequent generations the ability to live their lives, just about, anyway they choose. National service was gone before I would have been eligible, rationing had ended many years before.

I grew up in a peaceful country, with education, jobs waiting, opportunity like no other generation before me, and with no memories that would give me nightmares for the rest of my life. I have a wife, made children, bought a home, built a business, and lived my life without any of the same things that interrupted the flow of life for these men and their families.
D-Day 1944
This is why I shed a tear everytime this comes up in the news, or I read it in the papers. I am crying now, as I write this. Along with the rest of the UK and Europe, I would like to offer my sincere thanks and gratitude to those who fought so bravely and to remember those who fell.

You didn't know it then, but by god we all know it now; your sacrifice on that day has ensured that my life, and those of my family, and the rest of the UK, has remained free of the tyranny and brutality suffered by so many other countries in Europe and beyond.
D-Day 1944
Our way of life, and the freedoms we enjoy today, have been hard won. Our priority now must be to protect them at all cost, because they have already cost so much.

I just want to say this if I may.

What I do will never be sufficient to repay you, but each year on this anniversary, I remember the bravery and sacrifices made by these men and thank them again and again in my prayers. I just hope that when it is my turn to find eternal peace, that someone will at least say that when I took what you so freely gave, I made the best of it. God bless and thank you.

The best story of the day, in my view, was this one.
D-Day 1944 An 89 year old pensioner hid his medals under his coat and absconded from his Hove nursing home to attend the D-Day celebrations in France.

Bernard Jordan, Second World War veteran was told he could not attend today’s D-Day events in France. His response was to go AWOL from his care home and was found 12 hours later in Normandy, France.

He was reported missing that evening, sparking a search and find by the Sussex police after the alarm was raised by care home staff. Police searched the area and checked hospitals and bus and taxi companies.

It wasn't long before it was discovered that Bernard had slipped past staff, put on his medals under his raincoat and set off to join the other thousands of veterans on the beaches of Northern France for the 70th anniversary of the landings. Police were informed by another veteran that Bernard had joined a coach party and made his way to Ouistreham, where he stayed in a local hotel.

Good on ya Bernard, I hope you get back to the 80th anniversary too!
D-Day 1944     D-Day 1944

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