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D-Day: Still Relevant, 65 Years Later? June 5, 2009

Posted by Nina Rosenstand in Culture, Current Events, Nina Rosenstand's Posts.
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I’ve been blog-silent for quite a while—first busy with finals, and then being out of town, someplace off the grid, no cell phones, no TV, no radio, no Internet, what an amazing experience…

So I need to catch up on the news. But there is one day, the history of which I don’t need to catch up on: June 6, D-Day. This June 6 happens to be the 65th anniversary of the Normandy Landings of the American, Canadian and British troops. That alone is enough for some people to conclude that something that happened that far back in time has lost its relevance. And the generation that lived through that day is rapidly vanishing. But for some of us, D-Day still remains a factor in our everyday lives, at the personal level. Some had family members who died on those beaches or later in WWII, or who lived through it, came home, and either told their story, or were so affected by it that it was impossible for them to convey what they had been through. Watch Saving Private Ryan (video link to the Omaha Beach segment)—the vets who lived through it, and who saw the film, say this is the closest you can get to sharing the experience of a disappearing generation.

            For some of us the day lives on in another way, on a larger scale—as a reminder of what might have happened, had this immense undertaking not been successfully launched. What if D-Day hadn’t happened? The map of Europe would have been different, with global consequences. Most of us were born after WWII, and some of us were born in countries liberated by the men of D-Day.  I, for one, would in all likelihood not have grown up in a free country, had it not been for the men of D-Day. I would probably not have had the freedom to choose my occupation, my political views, my friends, or whether to stay in my home country or emigrate. Nazism might have imploded under its own weight, at some point, but it would have taken time. Europe would have been a very different place, and the recovery would have been difficult—perhaps as difficult as the struggle for democratic self-determination that Russians have experienced these past 20 years. Whatever political freedom we see in Europe today—freedom to decide what political values to embrace, and which political unions to pursue—was bought at a price. Regardless of how the media, here and in Europe, choose to portray the significance of D-Day in 2009, it remains a day where I will feel grateful for those who paid that price. And besides, June 6 is also the anniversary of the day I became a US citizen…

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Comments»

1. Paul Moloney - June 6, 2009

I lived with my granny in the early 70’s for awhile. I remember one night how she fell asleep cursing Hitler. She cursed Hitler for having taken her brother away from her. She was still in great sorrow years after the fact. My great uncle died from the wounds he suffered from fighting the Nazis in Egypt. He was in the British Army assigned to a tank.

Tamar’s father was a Polish Jew who was able to escape Poland. Tamar’s family on her father’s side were virtually wiped out. Her father ended up in Mexico where he married a much younger Mexican woman, Tamar’s mother.

If there is some kind of afterlife, and if there is some kind of justice meted out there, I would hate to be Hitler. If one multiplies my granny’s curse by millions, it might make for an uncomfortable afterlife.


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