Memory and Forgetfulness: Part 3

 

The Normandy D-Day Ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery was absolutely first class. The staging, audio and video production were excellent. Both presidents gave exceptional addresses. While each reflected their own nation’s character and perception of the good, they both kept the focus on the surviving veterans, there with them, and those who have long laid to rest in this consecrated ground. Warning: this is at least a two hanky event.

The ITV YouTube channel carried the Normandy American Cemetery ceremony, with President Trump and President Macron. President Macron helicoptered in just before the ceremony started, as he had started the day in the British beach sector with Prime Minister May, and with representatives of the British royal family at a church service. He, and the French people, did a fine job as grateful hosts. Don’t miss the WWII cargo aircraft formations towards the end of the American ceremony, with the two presidents and their wives side-by-side looking out over the beach to the sea. That rumble is the sound of liberty.

Watch 97-year-old Tom Rice make the jump on the 5th, part of the Daks over Normandy event:

And here is one of the British paratroopers who took part in the big jump:

Both presidents made the point of our duty to honor those being commemorated with a continued dedication to liberty. Both claimed that the history of these old warriors, and their forever young comrades, would not be forgotten so long as our people value and preserve liberty.

Published in History
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There are 30 comments.

  1. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    The BBC has the larger British ceremony, conducted in Bayeux War Cemetary:

    • #1
    • June 6, 2019, at 4:56 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor

    It was so moving to see Tom Rice, but I was most deeply touched by the devotion, love and respect the young men showed toward him, making sure he walked without incident, with humor (also returned by Rice) and kindness. Valuable examples of care and caring in this conflicted world. Thanks, Clifford.

    • #2
    • June 6, 2019, at 5:54 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  3. Boss Mongo Member

    It’s fitting that the Golden Knight pulling DZ duties on the ground had a 82nd Airborne combat patch.
    Great post, Mr. Brown. Thank you.

    • #3
    • June 6, 2019, at 8:17 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. Arahant Member

    It was a terrific ceremony. Nothing like starting to watch something in France at 4:30 AM. Thanks, Colonel.

    • #4
    • June 6, 2019, at 9:48 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. She Thatcher
    She

    One of my favorite moments (from yesterday):

    • #5
    • June 6, 2019, at 11:30 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  6. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher

    I watched Trump’s entire speech and cried like a baby when he introduced those old men as the great warriors they once were. 

    • #6
    • June 6, 2019, at 12:29 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  7. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    I watched Trump’s entire speech and cried like a baby when he introduced those old men as the great warriors they once were.

    Yes, and the little French girl who grew up to be a memorial guide, who this year showed the sister of an American soldier, for the first time, the place where his body has lain for 75 years. I said it was at least a two hanky event.

    • #7
    • June 6, 2019, at 2:56 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  8. Arahant Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    Yes, and the little French girl who grew up to be a memorial guide, who this year showed the sister of an American soldier, for the first time, the place where his body has lain for 75 years. I said it was at least a two hanky event.

    Wasn’t that where you announced the dust storm in the desert?

    • #8
    • June 6, 2019, at 3:00 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  9. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    See also @davesussman

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    It’s fitting that the Golden Knight pulling DZ duties on the ground had a 82nd Airborne combat patch.
    Great post, Mr. Brown. Thank you.

    This caused me to think a bit. The origin of the label “Greatest Generation” was a leftist, Democrat, leading “journalist,” who fashioned it as a backhander to the Vietnam veterans. You see, the left was really patriotic and supported the troops when their cause was just. 

    Today we have troops who, in their late 20s, early 30s, may have more months in combat deployment than those who fought from D-Day to VE Day. And every one of them is a volunteer, who signed up and even reenlisted.

    It is worth recalling that the 1930s American public was split. Talk about Russian meddling, American opinion flipped when Moscow sent out its instructions, in response to Hitler attacking the USSR. But for Hitler turning on Stalin, we would have had massive resistance against sending any American troops to fight in Europe. The call would have been to only go to war with the nation that attacked our land.

     

    • #9
    • June 6, 2019, at 4:54 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  10. Boss Mongo Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    Today we have troops who, in their late 20s, early 30s, may have more months in combat deployment than those who fought from D-Day to VE Day. And every one of them is a volunteer, who signed up and even reenlisted.

    Concur. For about three/four years, I was privileged, at the local high school’s “capping ceremony” where awards and scholarships are handed out to the senior class, to present the appointments to West Point. It humbled me, every time, to deliver the appointment, post-9/11, to seniors that knew that getting deployed and going into combat would be when not if. My God, I’m proud of those kids (five, altogether). When we cast aspersions upon millennials, these kids stand as a counterpoint.

    • #10
    • June 6, 2019, at 5:06 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  11. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher

    Maybe none of you will agree with me, but I think the Russians should be invited to celebrations of the war victory. I’m watching a wonderful documentary on Netflix about WW II, and I’m not sure we could have won that war without Russia. 

    • #11
    • June 6, 2019, at 5:07 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  12. Boss Mongo Member

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    Maybe none of you will agree with me, but I think the Russians should be invited to celebrations of the war victory. I’m watching a wonderful documentary on Netflix about WW II, and I’m not sure we could have won that war without Russia.

    Yes, but…The non-aggression pact between the Nazis and the Russians was always going to be violated, by whichever side assessed it was ready first. When Germany invaded Russia, where did all those Russian tank armies come from that stormed out of the east? Russia v. Germany was always going to happen.

    But, the Russians did do all the bleeding while the West got its schnitt together.

    • #12
    • June 6, 2019, at 5:14 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  13. Arahant Member

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):
    Russians did do all the bleeding

    It was the main thing they were good at.

    • #13
    • June 6, 2019, at 5:46 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  14. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):
    Russians did do all the bleeding

    It was the main thing they were good at.

    In all fairness, they defeated the Germans at Stalingrad and Kursk. 

    • #14
    • June 6, 2019, at 6:23 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. Arthur Beare Member

    Boss Mongo

    But, the Russians did do all the bleeding while the West got its schnitt together.

    And most of the killing.

    • #15
    • June 6, 2019, at 7:03 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Arahant Member

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):
    In all fairness, they defeated the Germans at Stalingrad and Kursk.

    At what relative cost? If you lose a million people against their ten thousand, that’s some way of toting up one in the win column. In the case of Stalingrad, the reported numbers are 1.129 Million against possibly as high as .868 Million. The equipment destroyed figures are even more lopsided. Kursk, I’m seeing 165K Nazis against at least 430K Soviets. One can only have so many wins like that before they add up to a loss.

    • #16
    • June 6, 2019, at 7:09 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. Arahant Member

    Arthur Beare (View Comment):
    And most of the killing.

    No doubt. They killed millions of German (and their allied) troops. But the way they did it was with a total disregard for the lives of their own people. They bled, figuring the Nazis had less blood to lose.

    • #17
    • June 6, 2019, at 7:12 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. The Reticulator Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):
    In all fairness, they defeated the Germans at Stalingrad and Kursk.

    At what relative cost? If you lose a million people against their ten thousand, that’s some way of toting up one in the win column. In the case of Stalingrad, the reported numbers are 1.129 Million against possibly as high as .868 Million. The equipment destroyed figures are even more lopsided. Kursk, I’m seeing 165K Nazis against at least 430K Soviets. One can only have so many wins like that before they add up to a loss.

    That method worked for U.S. Grant and Abraham Lincoln in our own Civil War.

    • #18
    • June 6, 2019, at 9:23 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    Maybe none of you will agree with me, but I think the Russians should be invited to celebrations of the war victory. I’m watching a wonderful documentary on Netflix about WW II, and I’m not sure we could have won that war without Russia.

    War victory, VE Day, 75th in 2020, yes, sorta. Of course, the rest of the central and eastern European countries should be invited to point out that they were freed of one totalitarian regime, only to be enslaved for another 45 years, roughly.

    Normandy. No.

    • #19
    • June 7, 2019, at 1:32 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  20. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    See also: @davesussman Why We Fight: #DDay75

    • #20
    • June 7, 2019, at 1:38 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. Miffed White Male Member

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    Maybe none of you will agree with me, but I think the Russians should be invited to celebrations of the war victory. I’m watching a wonderful documentary on Netflix about WW II, and I’m not sure we could have won that war without Russia.

    Yes, but…The non-aggression pact between the Nazis and the Russians was always going to be violated, by whichever side assessed it was ready first. When Germany invaded Russia, where did all those Russian tank armies come from that stormed out of the east? Russia v. Germany was always going to happen.

    But, the Russians did do all the bleeding while the West got its schnitt together.

    The Russians can put a sock in it. There wouldn’t have *been* a WWII without the Soviets signing the Non-aggression Pact with the Germany (and happily dividing up Poland between them).

    • #21
    • June 7, 2019, at 5:01 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  22. The Reticulator Member

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):
    The Russians can put a sock in it. There wouldn’t have *been* a WWII without the Soviets signing the Non-aggression Pact with the Germany (and happily dividing up Poland between them).

    That’s a novel idea. Or if not novel, one I’ve never heard before. 

    • #22
    • June 7, 2019, at 6:34 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  23. Miffed White Male Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):
    The Russians can put a sock in it. There wouldn’t have *been* a WWII without the Soviets signing the Non-aggression Pact with the Germany (and happily dividing up Poland between them).

    That’s a novel idea. Or if not novel, one I’ve never heard before.

    Which part? That the Nazis and Soviets signed a non-aggression pact in August of 1939, that included a secret agreement to divvy up Poland between them? The Soviets invaded Poland from the east a few days after Germany did from the West.

    If the Germans and their Soviet *allies* hadn’t made that agreement, it’s doubtful that Germany would have felt free to invade Poland (in the fall of 1939, anyway). Delay the start of the war by a year or two, and Britain and France would have had more time to re-arm. Things could have been very different.

     

     

    • #23
    • June 7, 2019, at 6:44 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  24. The Reticulator Member

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):
    If the Germans and their Soviet *allies* hadn’t made that agreement, it’s doubtful that Germany would have felt free to invade Poland (in the fall of 1939, anyway). Delay the start of the war by a year or two, and Britain and France would have had more time to re-arm. Things could have been very different.

    Saying the timing would have been different is very different from saying there wouldn’t have been a war. And Hitler was being opportunistic and making things up as he went along, wasn’t he? He couldn’t have afforded to just sit and wait before taking his next step; his successive successes were part of his mystique. If he couldn’t have made this move, he would have made a different one.

    • #24
    • June 7, 2019, at 7:35 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  25. The Reticulator Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    Maybe none of you will agree with me, but I think the Russians should be invited to celebrations of the war victory. I’m watching a wonderful documentary on Netflix about WW II, and I’m not sure we could have won that war without Russia.

    War victory, VE Day, 75th in 2020, yes, sorta. Of course, the rest of the central and eastern European countries should be invited to point out that they were freed of one totalitarian regime, only to be enslaved for another 45 years, roughly.

    Normandy. No.

    That sounds about right.

    • #25
    • June 7, 2019, at 7:37 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  26. Dave Sussman Contributor

    Excellent series Clifford.

    I have been watching the 26 part documentary on Eisenhower’s Book “Crusade in Europe” on Amazon Prime. (They are only 20 minutes each). I thought I had seen most of the WW2 footage until I started this series. Highly, HIGHLY recommended.

    • #26
    • June 7, 2019, at 11:39 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  27. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):
    The Russians can put a sock in it. There wouldn’t have *been* a WWII without the Soviets signing the Non-aggression Pact with the Germany (and happily dividing up Poland between them).

    I’m not sure we can blame Russia for simply trying to avoid war with a notoriously aggressive Germany. What makes what they did any worse than Chamberlain in Munich 1938?

    • #27
    • June 7, 2019, at 12:02 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  28. Dave Sussman Contributor

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):
    The Russians can put a sock in it. There wouldn’t have *been* a WWII without the Soviets signing the Non-aggression Pact with the Germany (and happily dividing up Poland between them).

    I’m not sure we can blame Russia for simply trying to avoid war with a notoriously aggressive Germany. What makes what they did any worse than Chamberlain in Munich 1938?

    Hitlers greatest blunder was invading Russia. That is next to not putting tanks on top of the beaches at Normandy (at the beginning of DDay he was sleeping and his men were scared to wake him!) Without a doubt, Stalin used millions of Russian boys as cannon fodder, but Stalingrad was a major turning point in the war and Germany was spread thin fighting two fronts.

    Churchill and Roosevelt had to bring Stalin into the axis, the enemy of my enemy and all that, and to prevent Russia from wanting to continue moving west in May of 45, they needed to divide the spoils.

    Also… and not many talk about this, Eisenhower had to consider post-war Germany. The Western allies didn’t want to foot the entire bill to rebuild infrastructure throughout Germany. There were millions of civilians living in destroyed cities like Berlin and Cologne, without water, electricity, sanitation, etc. and it was quickly turning into a humanitarian crisis. Dividing Europe into East and West was as much about logistics, cost, and manpower as it was about politics. 

    From there the world would see the vast difference between capitalism and communism as the countries were rebuilt under the promise of one, and the shackles of the other.

    • #28
    • June 7, 2019, at 12:25 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  29. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher

    Dave Sussman (View Comment):
    Hitlers greatest blunder was invading Russia.

    History certainly agrees with you. But, there is also the point of view that early on his troops were poised to take Moscow but instead high command made the colossal blunder of moving the German army to the south and Ukraine. Had they taken Moscow, the entire tenor of the war might have changed. Hitler was his own worst enemy.

    • #29
    • June 7, 2019, at 2:05 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  30. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):
    Hitler was his own worst enemy.

    Thanks be to God.

    • #30
    • June 15, 2019, at 1:47 AM PDT
    • 1 like