Remembering D-day (1 Viewer)

The_Doc_Man

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I'll start by saying that I was torn between posting this in the Watercooler or in the Politics & Current Event thread. But I think P&CE is more appropriate.

Today we of the USA and many other nations are remembering D-Day, June 6, 1944, on the 75th anniversary of that massive invasion. We all know many stories, I am sure. I thought I might remember two people who were actually there. I limited myself to people I actually knew. The history books can tell us many things, but I talked with these two men personally.

My father-in-law (now deceased) went ashore in the 3rd wave of the invasion at Omaha Beach in Normandy. Sergeant Loyd Joseph "Roy" Tabor survived the landing and followed a more southerly route, not heading straight for Berlin but more of a flanking action. During his many weeks of hard fighting, he was among several units that liberated concentration camps along the way. When he told his stories to his grandson and to me later, his eyes would take a very distant, far-away look as he described the horrors of what he saw. To his dying day he never claimed to understand how people could treat other people in the way that the Nazi regime treated the people in the concentration camps and death camps. Roy came home, where he became a carpenter building homes and being father to three children including my dear wife L. He passed away peacefully of natural causes having lived long enough to meet his great-grandson T. We have one picture of a smiling old man holding a squirmy infant and everyone smiling around them.

I had the pleasure of meeting Marvin James Perret (also now deceased) who was a landing craft steersman, sometimes called a coxswain. He made multiple trips to the Omaha landing zone and back to the boats to drop off and pick up soldiers, all while under fire. (The steersmen were always priority targets.) He survived D-Day and continued to drive boats to bring ashore personnel or supplies for most of the rest of the war including at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. When he retired, he became a "living exhibit" at the D-Day Museum in New Orleans. One day when I took my grandson T (Roy's 1st great-grandson) to the exhibit, Mr. Perret spoke of that day and spent some time telling his story to a thoroughly fascinated 9-year old boy. He stands out among the many people to talk to us that day because of his kindness to an impressionable young boy. Also because on that day Mr. Perret was wearing his Congressional Medal of Honor, awarded for his service of repeated trips to combat areas while himself under heavy fire from enemy rifles and cannons. Mr. Perret's oral history of his action has been preserved by the WWII Museum in New Orleans and can be viewed on-line. Just google the name Marvin J Perret to see a bit more of his history.

This post is not about the tyranny of Hitler's regime or the political situation that was in place back then. It doesn't matter whether you think in retrospect that the war was a good thing or a bad thing. That isn't my point at all. I post this because among many others 75 years ago, these two men were brave enough to fight a war on behalf of people living half a world away.

In memory of Sergeant L J Tabor and Petty Officer 2nd Class M J Perret, I offer a salute and a tear in your memory on this 75th anniversary of D-Day.
 
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pbaldy

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Great post Doc. I don't know anybody who was there, but I have a great deal of respect for military personnel and first responders.
 

Steve R.

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Remembering D-day raises points that need to be considered.

Hitler was obsessed with eradicating Stalingrad (Volgograd) and Leningrad (St. Petersburg). Consequently, many German troops who would have otherwise been available to defend the Normandy beaches weren't there.

I am not mentioning this to detract from the importance of D-day, but to point out that the West has an ethnocentric orientation. And along those lines, the diaspora of Christians from the Middle East continues with little recognition from Western Christian churches.

Some like to point-out that the former Soviet Union made major sacrifices in defeating Germany and that the Western nations have exaggerate their contribution to winning WWII. Well, that may be true to a degree, but the former Soviet Union, by invading Poland, was just as guilty as Germany in in regards to WWII. Additionally, the former Soviet Union, postponed their Westward advance, when the Poles revolted in Warsaw. The Russians let the Germans massacre the Poles instead of saving them.
 
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NauticalGent

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You know Doc, I never appreciated the pure magnitude of the day until I actually visited Omaha Beach last year...and it wasn’t just the US, many other countries played a part in that event...

As I interact with today’s sailors and listen to their conversations on how they deal with life, I shudder to think how our modern day military would fare if we found ourselves in a similar situation.
 

AccessBlaster

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You know Doc, I never appreciated the pure magnitude of the day until I actually visited Omaha Beach last year...and it wasn’t just the US, many other countries played a part in that event...

As I interact with today’s sailors and listen to their conversations on how they deal with life, I shudder to think how our modern day military would fare if we found ourselves in a similar situation.
Makes you wonder, will the next world war be fought on beaches or in computer bunkers in Kansas.
 

Minty

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I've been to the Normandy area many times, on my way to Le Mans 24Hr and to play golf, and on those trips have had many visits to places like Omaha and Gold beaches, Arromanche http://en.normandie-tourisme.fr/arromanches-564-2.html , "Pegasus" Bridge, and a number of the War Memorial Cemeteries .

You cannot fail to be moved by the scale of what lay ahead and selflessness and bravery of those that took part.

It is one of the most humbling experiences you can have, and if you ever get the chance you should go.
 

The_Doc_Man

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Since my father-in-law was there, and because I would love to visit Europe, I would love to bring my wife there. However, if I did, I can guarantee I would have to buy a case of tissues for her. When she sees things like that, she's a weeper.
 

isladogs

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In my experience almost everyone is moved to tears when visiting memorials in the battlefields area such as the Menin Gate
 

Micron

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almost everyone is moved to tears when visiting memorials in the battlefields area such as the Menin Gate
And some just by thinking about it.
'Twas a day to remember a Merchant Marine father and a tank personnel father-in-law (who got sent home the first time he tried to sneak in because he was under age).
I doubt we will ever see another generation like those who willingly answered the call.
 

Frothingslosh

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Makes you wonder, will the next world war be fought on beaches or in computer bunkers in Kansas.

World War III would be fought from bunkers, and I expect it would last maybe 45 minutes.

Remember Einstein's comments about World Wars III and IV.
 

The_Doc_Man

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Now, three years after this post started, it looks like there is at least a moderate chance that WW III will be fought in the Ukraine or thereabouts. On this, the 78th anniversary of that momentous day, it seems like sabers have started rattling yet again.
 

Pat Hartman

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My father joined the Merchant Marine the day after he graduated from high school. It was 1945 and he was just 17. I think my grandmother had to sign the papers for him. Although he never held a weapon, his life was in jeopardy every day he served since merchant convoys were prime targets for subs and his convoy was attacked on more than one occasion but luckily his ship was never sunk. He lived to the ripe old age of 92 and never lost his love of the sea. He was the Commodore at his yacht club in Florida until his 80's when his wife insisted that he stop sailing alone so he relented and sold his sail boat.
 

Isaac

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My father joined the Merchant Marine the day after he graduated from high school. It was 1945 and he was just 17. I think my grandmother had to sign the papers for him. Although he never held a weapon, his life was in jeopardy every day he served since merchant convoys were prime targets for subs and his convoy was attacked on more than one occasion but luckily his ship was never sunk. He lived to the ripe old age of 92 and never lost his love of the sea. He was the Commodore at his yacht club in Florida until his 80's when his wife insisted that he stop sailing alone so he relented and sold his sail boat.
I recently visited San Diego for the weekend and toured the USS Midway for an hour or two. Amazingly unbelievably wonderful and far more interesting that I imagined it was going to be. What a huge ship with many levels and areas
 

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