Lazy Saturday Reads: D-Day Edition

Allied ships, boats and barrage balloons off Omaha Beach after the successful D-Day invasion, near Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France on June 9, 1944.  (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)

Allied ships, boats and barrage balloons off Omaha Beach after the successful D-Day invasion, near Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France on June 9, 1944. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)

 

Good Morning!!

Today is the 71st anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy. I found some stunning original color photos at The Denver Post, and I thought I’d share a few of them here. Go to the link to see the entire collection. I’ve also gathered some interesting articles on the “longest day” along with remembrances from survivors.

From The Charlotte Observer: D-Day: Only the beginning – with the end nowhere in sight, by David Perlmutt.

With Saturday comes another anniversary of D-Day as the light continues to dim on the generation that fought it.

Seventy-one years have passed since Carolinians such as Andy Andrews of Black Mountain and Walter Dickens of Monroe got their first taste of combat when they rushed ashore at Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944, the pivotal day historians tag as the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany.

It was more of a beginning than an end. Long after D-Day’s first anniversary, the bullets would continue to fly in the Pacific theater and other parts of the world.

A year ago, I wrote a series of stories to honor the 70th anniversary of D-Day through the eyes – and distant memories – of Andrews, Dickens and others like paratroopers Harold Eatmon of Mint Hill and E.B. Wallace of Waxhaw. The fighting took another 11 months and horrific losses during battles in countries such as France, Holland, Belgium and ultimately Germany before the Germans surrendered.

Planes from the 344th Bomb Group, which led the IX Bomber Command formations on D-Day on June 6, 2014. Operations started in March 1944 with attacks on targets in German-occupied France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. After the beginning of the Normandy invasion, the Group was active at Cotentin Peninsula, Caen, Saint-Lo and the Falaise Gap.  (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)

Planes from the 344th Bomb Group, which led the IX Bomber Command formations on D-Day on June 6, 2014. Operations started in March 1944 with attacks on targets in German-occupied France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. After the beginning of the Normandy invasion, the Group was active at Cotentin Peninsula, Caen, Saint-Lo and the Falaise Gap. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)

Fighting continued in the Pacific, where my Dad was stationed, for a long time after June 6, 1944. He was on a ship traveling to Japan when the U.S. dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He said they celebrated–not knowing the horror the bombs would unleash–they were saved. My Dad might not have come home if those bombs hadn’t been dropped.

A year after D-Day, thousands of U.S. Marine and Army troops were still two weeks away from capturing Okinawa, the last in a hopscotch of islands that Allied forces needed for a plan to force Japan’s unconditional surrender. Offshore, U.S. Navy ships absorbed daily attacks by Japanese kamikaze (suicide) planes as their guns pounded hills above the landing beaches. Army Air Forces planes bombed targets inland to soften the Japanese defense.

As they fought to take control of Okinawa, hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers, Marines and sailors prepared to take part in what would have been history’s greatest battle – Operation Olympic, code-named Downfall, the invasion of the Japanese homeland.

They knew the fighting would be fierce.

Much more at the link. It’s a very good piece.

British Navy Landing Crafts (LCA-1377) carry United States Army Rangers to a ship near Weymouth in Southern England on June 1, 1944. British soldiers can be seen in the conning station. For safety measures, U.S. Rangers remained consigned on board English ships for five days prior to the invasion of Normandy, France.  (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)

British Navy Landing Crafts (LCA-1377) carry United States Army Rangers to a ship near Weymouth in Southern England on June 1, 1944. British soldiers can be seen in the conning station. For safety measures, U.S. Rangers remained consigned on board English ships for five days prior to the invasion of Normandy, France. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)

 

CNN: He got to witness ‘The Longest Day,’ by Val Lauder.

Cornelius Ryan was a 24-year-old war correspondent when he had a chance to see a defining moment in the defining event of the 20th century — the Allied landings on the coast of France to retake France and bring down Hitler.

Ryan at first witnessed the invasion from a bomber that flew over the beaches. Then, back in England, he scrambled to find the only thing he could that was going to Normandy. A torpedo boat that, he learned too late, had no radio. “And if there’s one thing that an editor is not interested in,” he said, “it’s having a reporter somewhere he can’t write a story.”

Recalling those five hours off the coast, watching the struggle on the beaches, he remembered “the magnitude of the thing, the vastness. I felt so inadequate to describe it.”

But today, as the 71st anniversary of D-Day approaches on June 6, Ryan is most likely to be remembered for being the one who did describe it, who told so many millions the real story of what happened that day, in his book which became the famous movie, “The Longest Day.”

Lauder was a young woman headed to journalism school at Northwestern when the invasion took place.

In September 1962, I interviewed Cornelius Ryan before the New York premiere of the film. Ryan had become the authority on the events of June 6, 1944, following publication of his book. And as he himself noted, in the 10 years it took him to research and write the book, he became “a veritable depository of D-Day memorabilia.”

He shared some of what he’d learned as we talked in the study of his home in Ridgefield, Connecticut, that Sunday afternoon.

Read her remembrances at the CNN link.

The 1st Infantry Division of the United States Army (The 'Big Red One') in Dorset, United Kingdom on June 5, 1944 before departing for Omaha Beach.  (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)

The 1st Infantry Division of the United States Army (The ‘Big Red One’) in Dorset, United Kingdom on June 5, 1944 before departing for Omaha Beach. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)

The Christian Science Monitor: D-Day June 6, 1944: How did Hitler react?

Considering the pivotal nature of June 6, 1944, how did Hitler react to the attack? Did he rant, did he rail? Did he move with focused calm to try and repel the invaders? [….]

In the early days of June Germany’s Fuhrer was at The Berghof, his residence in the Bavarian Alps. Everyone there knew an invasion was likely in the near future, but the atmosphere was not nervous, according to contemporary accounts. To the contrary it was relaxed, and in the evening, almost festive. A group of guests and military aides would gather at the complex’s Tea House and Hitler would hold forth on favorite topics, such as the great men of history, or Europe’s future.

On the evening of June 5, Hitler and his entourage watched the latest newsreels, and then talked about films and theater. They stayed up until 2 a.m., trading reminiscences. It was almost like the “good old times,” remembered key Hitler associate Joseph Goebbels.

When Goebbels left for his own quarters, a thunderstorm broke, writes British historian Ian Kershaw. German military intelligence was already picking up indications of an oncoming Allied force, and perhaps landing troops, in the Normandy region. But Hitler wasn’t told. The Fuhrer retired around 3 a.m.

German headquarters confirmed that some sort of widespread attack was in progress shortly thereafter. At sunrise, around 6 a.m., the defenders knew: Allied ships and planes were massed off the French beaches in astounding strength, and men were beginning to come ashore. It was a sight many would never forget.

But the German reaction was slow and befuddled. Was this the real thing, the main invasion? Or was it a feint, with the real force to land elsewhere, probably Calais?

Read more at the link.

A U.S. Landing Craft Infantry (LCI) filled with invasion troops approaches the French coast from the sea in June of 1944. The GIs wear life vests in preparation for the landing.  (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)

A U.S. Landing Craft Infantry (LCI) filled with invasion troops approaches the French coast from the sea in June of 1944. The GIs wear life vests in preparation for the landing. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)

 

More D-Day stories:

The Daily Mail, D-Day heroes’ courage remembered.

AP via The Miami Herald, Vets, visitors return to Normandy to mark D-Day anniversary.

Constitution Daily, Ten fascinating facts on the 71st anniversary of D-Day.

The Daily Beast, The Stacks: A D-Day Vet Shows Normandy to His Son.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Veterans of D-Day mark 71st anniversary: 4 will be honored today at Heinz History Center.

The Nation on what was happening in Congress on D-Day–a bunch of nonsense, just like today. June 6, 1944: D-Day Invasion of France.

Heavy, D-Day Invasion: Top 10 Best Quotes & Sayings.

grim sleeper

A Recommendation

Before I get to the rest of the news, I want to highly recommend an HBO documentary I watched a few days ago called Tales of the Grim Sleeper. It’s the story of how serial killer Lonnie Franklin, Jr. murdered as many as 100 African-American women in South Central LA over more than 20 years while the LAPD ignored what was happening.

 

This isn’t the story of a serial killer–it’s about police attitudes toward the poor and people of color; and it fits right in with recent events in places like Ferguson, Cleveland, Staten Island, and Baltimore and with the Black Lives Matter movement.

This story could have happened in a poor neighborhood in any major American city. In fact, there was a similar case in Cleveland where Anthony Sowell murdered poor black women for years without getting caught because the crimes weren’t taken seriously.

If you have HBO or can get access to it, please watch this outstanding film.

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Other News, links only

News News

Brian Beutler at The New Republic, Hillary Clinton’s Grand Strategy to Beat the GOP: Take Bold Positions Early and Often.

Politico, 2016 field descends on Iowa for Joni Ernst shindig.

New York Times, Beau Biden Funeral Draws Many Mourners, Including Obama.

LA Times, LAPD finds officers were justified in fatal shooting of mentally ill man, sources say.

Politico, Anti-war activist confronts Sen. Tom Cotton.

Paul Krugman, Lone Star Stumble.

Voice of America, Death Toll Jumps to Nearly 400 in China Ship Sinking.

BBC News, President Vladimir Putin tells West not to fear Russia

Sexual Molestation News

AP, via AOL, Sister: Brother had sexual relationship with Hastert.

NBC News, Dennis Hastert Case: Abuse Group Wants Congressional Portrait Removed.

Huffington Post, Dennis Hastert Hid His Skeletons As He Helped Push GOP’s Anti-Gay Agenda.

Fox News, Jessa: Josh Duggar was ‘in puberty and a little too curious about girls.’

ABC News, Duggars Put Locks on Doors as a Safeguard Following Alleged Molestation.

Is a crime still “alleged” after the perpetrator and his parents acknowledge that he did it? Just asking.

Time, Josh Duggar’s Sister on Molestation: ‘It Wasn’t Like a Horror Story.’

Yibada, Josh Duggar’s Sister Jill Dillard: My Parents Did Such An Amazing Job.

Gawker, The Truth About Josh Duggar’s Sham Cult-Center “Counseling.”

What else is happening? As always, treat this as an open thread. 


38 Comments on “Lazy Saturday Reads: D-Day Edition”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Have a great weekend, everyone!

    • RalphB says:

      Great post BB! My uncle was a Marine and island hopped across the Pacific during the war. Like your Dad, he was going be in the invasion of Japan. It must have been one hell of a relief when those atomic bpmbs fell and it all ended. As bad as Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the loss of life was probably minimal compared to the Hell of an invasion.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Thanks. My Dad had ambivalent feelings about it later on, but at the time he was just happy the war was ending and he could go back home. He said the had no idea what the bombs would actually do.

    • Beata says:

      Thank you, BB.

      Excellent post. I wonder how many people even remember that today is D-Day?

      • bostonboomer says:

        Probably not too many. I didn’t remember until I saw the headlines this morning. It was a lifetime ago.

    • janicen says:

      My Dad served in the Army Air Corps from 1943 to 1946 and never spent a second overseas. He desperately wanted to be a pilot but couldn’t pass the physical test because of a knee injury he suffered as a youth. His unit was in the first wave to bomb Berlin but he was pulled off the mission at the last moment to go to school to learn to use radar. There were very few survivors of that mission. I never knew the story until one day when he was in his seventies I came into the room when he was watching the History Channel. They were showing a story about the mission and he said, with tears in his eyes, “That was my unit.” I said, “Whoa, I bet you were glad you got pulled from the mission. ” and he replied, “No, I really wanted to go. I wasn’t happy at all.”

      Thanks for posting about D-Day, bb. We must never forget the ultimate sacrifice so many made.

    • Fannie says:

      Thank you BB, never forget D Day.

    • BB those color pictures were amazing. I’ve got something to share. A little article about my Nano and his brothers:

      https://skydancingblog.com/?attachment_id=74539

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    i am sitting here weeping uncontrolably over the eulogy delivered by Pres. Obama on behalf of Beau Biden.

    Truly beautiful and heartfelt.

    • RalphB says:

      I didn’t want to watch the funeral for that very reason. I’ve got tears in my eyes just from reading the Charlotte Observer D-Day story and knowing something of the hell those men went through.

  3. Beata says:

    The Beau Biden funeral is so heartbreaking. I’m crying my eyes out watching it. What an exceptional human being he was. Gone far too soon.

    “For they rest from their labors”

  4. RalphB says:

    Good post on astroturfing …

    Eclectablog: A glimpse behind the curtain of how Koch-funded corporate front groups manipulate the news you read on the internet

    Over the past several years, I have written about how corporate front groups, largely funded by corporatists like the Koch brothers and their network of fake grassroots (“astroturf”) groups, manipulate the media to serve their corporate bottom lines. They use this network to amplify their corporate messages, disguised as “reporting” or “news”, jacking up their search engine hits, and ensuring that their slant on things dominates what you see on the internet and elsewhere.

    Yesterday, I got a taste of how this process sometimes plays out. …

  5. dakinikat says:

    Wow. Lots to read! Thx for all the DDay links. I’d have read them to Dad if he were still alive. His experiences bombing Europe after the invasion were something he never used to talk about when I was young but were a constant source of conversation the last few years. I’m still reeling from idea that you trot your daughters out on the media to defend their abuser. That’s beyond surreal.

    • bostonboomer says:

      My Dad never talked about the war until the last few years before he died. I didn’t even know he was at Guadacanal until he started to talk about. I think he was really traumatized by his war experiences. I realize now that he probably had PTSD, and I began to understand why he would often fly into rages. Not that it made it any less awful for me as a kid.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        I think a lot of WW2 Vets suffered from PTSD and didn’t know what the problem was. That generation felt a sense of shame over psychological disorders and were loathe to admit they might need help. Only the very rich got any help with their war scars. My dad, who was an alcoholic and very abusive, was at Normandy. He wasn’t one that stormed the beaches, but he was in a field artillery unit. He talked about how their position was under almost constant fire and how difficult it was to sleep, eat or even to go to the bathroom. He said the slit trenches became like cesspools. He ended up with IBS or as they called it then, Spastic Colon. I think he began drinking to escape the pain of it all.

      • janicen says:

        My uncle was a two-time bronze star winner as a result of his service in the Pacific. He came out of the army and went straight into a mental hospital. I don’t know much but what I know was that his unit was overwhelmed by the Japanese and almost all in his unit were dead. He had to fake being dead while the Japanese went around and bayonetted the bodies to make sure they were dead. He somehow survived, but was never the same again.

        • bostonboomer says:

          That’s terrible. That happened to my Dad when he was at Guadalcanal. He was the only member of his unit that survived one battle. That had to be incredibly traumatic.

      • NW Luna says:

        BB, excellent post. I’m very late catching up. My Dad, who was in the Navy in WWII, never talked about his service. He sometimes flew into rages too.
        I’ll always wonder if I should have asked him about his time during the war. But in our family it was just an unwritten rule that you didn’t talk about it.

  6. roofingbird says:

    American Pharoah wins the Triple Crown!

  7. dakinikat says:

    Just so you know and can feel like we’ve been at this forever, Sky Dancing is 7 years old today!!!

  8. bostonboomer says:

    Jim Bob Duggar’s old campaign website advocates the death penalty for incest and rape.

    Q. What is your abortion position, and specifically, where do you stand on rape, incest, and threat to the mother’s health?

    A. If a woman is raped, the rapist should be executed instead of the innocent unborn baby. Adoption is an option. Many couples would love to adopt and are waiting for a baby. Abortion has been and always will be the destruction of an innocent child. Rape and incest represent heinous crimes and as such should be treated as capital crimes. The developing infant committed no crime and should be allowed to live. In the unlikely event that the life of both mother and baby would both be lost (for example, a tubal pregnancy) all should be done to save the life of the mother.