The significance of the D- Day landings cannot be summed up in words, nor can they be adequately glorified by a Dietitian with minimal history experience. The thing about D- Day though is that everybody has at least heard of it, and most people will know of the sacrifice, bravery and ingenuity that came with the momentous landings on the beach at Normandy during World War II.
Major sacrifice of precious life
Between 2,500 and 4,000 Allied troops are thought to have died during the D- Day landings, many lost to the Nazi machine guns before they even had a chance to disembark from the boats. Add an additional 9,000 German troops to this tragic list of dead, and you get some idea of how significant this day really was.
Turning point of World War II
The UK, US, and Canada were profoundly aware of the significance that overturning the German’s hold on occupied France would have to the outcome of the war. The value placed on this particular mission was reflected by the massive allocation of troops…156,000 to be precise. The Pegasus Bridge was remembered as one of the first crossings to be captured by British troops within minutes of landing at the Normandy shores during the push. And on the eve of the landings, Prince Charles commemorated this act of skill and bravery by laying a wreath to signify our recognition and respect. Despite all of the towns still having French names, the 5 landing beaches (as a sign of respect and recognition) are still affectionately known as Utah, Omaha, Juno, Gold and Sword.
Remaining war veterans in attendance
Among the thousands of people to visit the shores of Normandy today were 650 UK veterans, most of which are in their 80’s and 90’s and possibly making the trip for the last time. One particular veteran, 89 year old Jock Hutton repeated the jump he made 70 years ago in tandem, equally amazing now as it was back then. Upon landing he was greeted by Prince Charles who stood to attention holding a salute in recognition of the war veterans servic
Heads of state remember the fallen
The queen and Duke of Edinburgh made the trip to Paris for a 3 day stint in France. French president Francois Hollande and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II left flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, pausing to bow their heads at the infamous Arc De Triumph.
D- day was, and remains the largest amphibious assault in military history, Charlie Stretch, one of the brave veterans remembers how it was the day before his 20th Birthday, he explains that he truly believed that with all that was hapening he wouldn’t reach 20. 88 year old Sapper Harry Billinge remembers D- Day… ‘It was a killing field. I hope they will never forget the poor devils that died here’. His message is even more pertinent considering all of the remaining veterans are nearing the end of their lives, it is a very harsh reality that soon the D- Day landings will no longer be a 'living' memory. One thing that is for sure is that their sacrifice and bravery will NEVER fade from our hearts and memories. To all that fought and died, we owe you our lives as we know them.
BBC News, (2014). D-Day 70th anniversary: Ceremonies and staged landing held. Retrieved 6th June, 2014, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27700479