Significance of June 6

Tomorrow is June 6th. The world may be well on its way to forget the importance of the day. But I, far away from the historic places, value it. Yes, I mean the battlefield of Normandy or Normandie. On June, 6th , 1944, the Allied forces began their Operation Overlord. English, American and Canadian forces assaulted the German forces of Festung Europa, perched on the imposing but ineffective Atlantik Wall.

This is not going to be a war account. I have no veteran stories or other war manuals or diaries to share either. I just write this in memory of the countless number of Allied soldiers killed my MG42s while they were coming ashore, the disfigured bodies of many Allied men (nay boys) who faced hell from the German artillery batteries and static naval guns. I write about the hundreds of paratroopers who went behind the lines to harass German forces in their rear, the pilots who broke the back of the German transport and logistics network, about the valiant few members of the French resistance and brave men who braved all odds and secured a foothold to liberate Europe. I also write about the hopelessly outnumbered German soldiers who fought to death, yielding almost no ground. I write about the depressed and hard-pressed young boys of the Hitlerjugend who died in their thousands to save their Fatherland, soldiers who killed thinking about the continuous terror bombing of German cities, invalids who laid down their lives so that rest of the German divisions can hold. I write also about the thousands of Germans who were hacked to pieces by the French Resistance, massacred by the Americans upon capture, and the few who defected and posed as villagers. I remember the sacrifices of such few much tremendously motivated German and Russian soldiers who fought and mostly died on the beaches of Normandy. I remember them all.

It is easy to judge who was right and who was wrong. It is easy to blame and be free from conscience. But the reality cannot be painted in black and white. There are more like shades of gray. The entire battle was a massacre. The cold calculations of Eisenhower, the tactics of Kluge and manipulations of Spiedel - the soldiers were just pawns for them. But it was a necessary evil. Considering the alternative - a Nazi dominated Europe or worse, a Soviet one, what happened was good.

The times have changed. The Germans, French, Americans and the English have buried their differences. The War has been left to be only of academic interest. But those men - all of them were necessary, so that this day might come. Without them (both the Axis and the Allies) we would not be here the way we are. Never again.

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