Friday, June 6, 2008

D-Day turns 64

The Allied invasion of Normandy began 64 years ago today.

For most of us in our 40s, our parents or grandparents would have been the closest generation to fight in the war. My mother - who was 41 when I was born - quit high school to work in a factory that manufactured shells.

The Ken Burns series "The War" or the opening sequence of "Saving Private Ryan" is about as "in your face" as war can be without having experienced it. Even then, screen images are a poor substitute for the real thing. Fortunately, though, that's as close as most of us get.

That invasion ultimately helped turn the war in the Allies favor. Other notable battles dot the landscape, but D-Day is the one that gets the attention.

Looking at our current situation in Iraq, it's difficult to tell what the "turning point" reference will be 60 years from now when people review the conflict. Maybe it hasn't happened yet, or maybe it has and we haven't realized it. Military commanders and regular folk in 1944 may not have grasped the impact of D-Day while living in the moment. We can only hope the tide-turning moment is in our favor.

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