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Old 06-06-2009, 09:40 AM   #1
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Default 65th Anniversary of D-Day

'Greatest Generation' dwindles at D-Day memorial
Mary Foster, Associated Press Writer
Fri Jun 5, 6:53 pm ET

NEW ORLEANS It's "A Gathering of the Greatest Generation" though this year only a small group of that era's aging heroes will commemorate the invasion of France at Normandy 65 years ago.

On Saturday afternoon, veterans will attend a National World War II Museum ceremony in New Orleans recognizing soldiers, sailors and airmen who made that invasion a turning point for Allied forces. However, organizers acknowledge few members of an already dwindling population are hardy enough to make the trip.

"We won't have a veteran from each state, unfortunately," said William Detweiler, who is in charge of the event. "They're all in their 80s and 90s now, and getting around is just too hard for many of them."

The Department of Veterans Affairs says about 2.6 million World War II veterans are still alive, but more than 300,000 are expected to die this year. California has the most with 555,974, Alaska the fewest with 5,903.

While their mobility may be declining, many have fresh memories of the events surrounding the June 6, 1944, invasion of France by American, British and Commonwealth troops known to history as D-Day. The term was often used by the military to designate the start of invasions during the war. But the massive scale and historic importance of Normandy made D-Day a lasting symbol.

"I tell the story as often as I can, anywhere I can," said Tom Blakey, 89, of New Orleans, who parachuted into France six hours before the first Allied troops came ashore at a strip of Normandy coast designated as Omaha Beach. "That's the only way for it to be remembered, and it needs to be remembered. Your life would not be the same today without that operation."

Allied forces, under the overall command of Gen. and later President Dwight Eisenhower, began the assault by parachuting troops behind the coast shortly after midnight. Infantry and armored divisions began hitting the beach about 6:30 a.m.

The operation was the largest single-day amphibious invasion of all time, with 160,000 troops landing along a 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast.

More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion. More than 9,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded along that heavily fortified coast, even though German leader Adolf Hitler was convinced Gen. George Patton would lead troops further north near Calais, where the English Channel is narrow.

Howard Hall, 86, of Louisa, Ky., was 18 years old when he stormed off the landing craft into his first battle clutching a .30-caliber machine gun.

"I guess we were all scared, but it didn't stop us," said Hall, a retired oil refinery worker. "I just got off that boat and tried to get in. The sun was coming up and you could see the Germans shooting big mortars."

The Army Engineer 6th Brigade soldier spent two months on the Normandy beach, making sure supplies got through. From there he went through France and Belgium, and wound up in Germany.

Blakey, who retired from the oil business, has covered most of Mississippi and southern Louisiana with three other World War II veterans, recounting their memories of D-Day.

On Saturday, he will be among the veterans from across the nation who will stand together at the museum in tribute to those who have died.

"When I got home, the whole country was full of young people that had all been in service someplace, but we never talked about it," Blakey said. "Maybe it was a method of getting over it. Now I'm sorry more of the people that were there haven't talked about it more. I don't want it to be lost."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090605/...versary_museum
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Old 06-06-2009, 09:52 AM   #2
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Default Re: 65th Anniversary of D-Day

A special prayer...and a heartfelt Thank-You to all our WWII Veterans.

A moment of admission on my part. When I first hear the term "the greatest generation" applied to these men and those from their era, I raised an eybrow as to if they deserved such an austere title.

I thought this in ignorance.

They fought, not for awards, not for medals, and not for accolades, but for the principle of the matter. Though raised in a time when the United States offered so very little to these children of the depression, they fought because THEIR country was attacked. Tough, self-sufficient and independent, they were the perfect young men to face the threat that faced the world at that time.

I stand corrected and I stand in awe of the large shadow that this generation of men have cast over not only me, but my country, and the world.

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Old 06-06-2009, 01:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: 65th Anniversary of D-Day

Vet passes away before D-day celebration

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This D-Day anniversary assumed special significance because veterans of the battle are reaching their 80s and 90s and their numbers are dwindling. One American veteran, Jim Norene, who fought with the 101st Airborne Division, came back for Saturday's ceremony, but died in his sleep Friday night.

"Jim was gravely ill when he left his home, and he knew that he might not return," Obama said. "But just as he did 65 years ago, he came anyway. May he now rest in peace with the boys he once bled with, and may his family always find solace in the heroism he showed here."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090606/...go_pr_wh/obama
To pass away near the final resting spot of his former comrades........I think he wouldn't mind at all.
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Old 06-06-2009, 01:44 PM   #4
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Default Re: 65th Anniversary of D-Day

It goes without saying that the WORLD would be a different place without those brave men.

PLEASE, if you know a WWII Vet thank him and shake his hand. It's the least we can do to show our appreciation.

They were THE GREATEST GENERATION this country has ever seen.

For those who haven't seen it, watch Band Of Brothers. That series is quite possibly the best dipiction of that war that I have ever seen. It will take about 10 hours but man IT'S WORTH IT!

Also, Tom Brokaws "The Greatest Generation" is a very good read. It will give a great perspective on the men who fought as well as the women who helped keep the country going while they were at war.


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Old 06-06-2009, 02:07 PM   #5
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Default Re: 65th Anniversary of D-Day

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Originally Posted by lamberts-lost-tooth View Post
A special prayer...and a heartfelt Thank-You to all our WWII Veterans.

A moment of admission on my part. When I first hear the term "the greatest generation" applied to these men and those from their era, I raised an eybrow as to if they deserved such an austere title.

I thought this in ignorance.

They fought, not for awards, not for medals, and not for accolades, but for the principle of the matter. Though raised in a time when the United States offered so very little to these children of the depression, they fought because THEIR country was attacked. Tough, self-sufficient and independent, they were the perfect young men to face the threat that faced the world at that time.

I stand corrected and I stand in awe of the large shadow that this generation of men have cast over not only me, but my country, and the world.



Well said, my friend.
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Old 06-06-2009, 02:08 PM   #6
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Default Re: 65th Anniversary of D-Day

I get chills thinking about this brave soldiers. They went to war because it was the right thing to do. Thank you to all for everything you done for us.
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Old 06-06-2009, 02:09 PM   #7
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Default Re: 65th Anniversary of D-Day

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammer Of The GODS View Post
It goes without saying that the WORLD would be a different place without those brave men.

PLEASE, if you know a WWII Vet thank him and shake his hand. It's the least we can do to show our appreciation.

They were THE GREATEST GENERATION this country has ever seen.

For those who haven't seen it, watch Band Of Brothers. That series is quite possibly the best dipiction of that war that I have ever seen. It will take about 10 hours but man IT'S WORTH IT!

Also, Tom Brokaws "The Greatest Generation" is a very good read. It will give a great perspective on the men who fought as well as the women who helped keep the country going while they were at war.


Hammer,

I am reading Stephen Ambrose's book....again!!!
The HBO series is one of the best things that I have ever seen on television. I now own the DVD's and can watch it over and over.
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Old 06-06-2009, 03:44 PM   #8
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Default Re: 65th Anniversary of D-Day



Life Magazine D-Day coverage

http://www.life.com/image/50703232/i...ation-overlord
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Old 06-06-2009, 04:43 PM   #9
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Default Re: 65th Anniversary of D-Day

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Originally Posted by Killer View Post
Thanks Killer....very appropriate and touching to look at...appreciated!
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Old 06-06-2009, 06:59 PM   #10
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Default Re: 65th Anniversary of D-Day

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamberts-lost-tooth View Post
A special prayer...and a heartfelt Thank-You to all our WWII Veterans.

A moment of admission on my part. When I first hear the term "the greatest generation" applied to these men and those from their era, I raised an eybrow as to if they deserved such an austere title.

I thought this in ignorance.

They fought, not for awards, not for medals, and not for accolades, but for the principle of the matter. Though raised in a time when the United States offered so very little to these children of the depression, they fought because THEIR country was attacked. Tough, self-sufficient and independent, they were the perfect young men to face the threat that faced the world at that time.

I stand corrected and I stand in awe of the large shadow that this generation of men have cast over not only me, but my country, and the world.





Very well put......i salute the "GREATEST GENERATION"

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