Your memories of D-Day anniversaries?

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by alberk, Jun 6, 2021.

  1. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member


    On June 4th, 1974, "The Longest Day" premiered on German Public TV. At the time I was 11 years old and very eager to watch it. As it is an almost three hour picture the broadcast started at 7.30 PM. Which was ok for a boy my age - the trouble was that bedtime was at 9 PM. No exception made on that day. Cruel! All my pleading was in vain. So, to my deep disappointment I only saw half of the film - and, of course, it was the less spectacular half. I do not remember whether the invasion had yet started by half-time... I believe the "airborne element" had landed by then... still, I had a clear understanding that I was missing out on something worth watching.

    By 1984 I had my own little apartment in Münster, where I had just enrolled as a student of history that year. And I had a small black-and-white TV set, the cheapest you could find in those days. So, my premiere for "The Longest Day" was on June 6th, 1984, when German TV chose to re-run it...

    I suppose that in 1984 I was to some extent more aware of the realities of war - and of the limits of representing these realities in a star-studded feature film. While the film is impressive it will never fully convey what it means for young men to go into battle and to face death and destruction...
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  2. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    On 6 June 1984, I got my mother's permission to skip class for once, to listen to a radio broadcast about the commemorations (I think it was only later, that they began to be called "anniversaries" or "celebrations", instead of commemorations).

    Ten years later, I went to Normandy myself. Together with my brother, we rode from Holland to Normandy on our WW2 motorcycles: his Ariel WNG and my Royal Enfield WD/CO. It took us three day to get there. Not only the trip was unforgettable, but also the bikes proved to be an absolute magnet for veterans. It was great to be able to talk with so many of the them! Since then, we've been back, together, at least every 5 years. Last time has been in 2019, again with our motorcycles, but this time, I must admit, on the back of a trailer. Wonderful memories!

    Photos below: Normandy, June 1994. Magnets with veterans and running into all 6 Pegasus bridge glider pilots (much less red tape at the time).

    Normandy 1994.jpg
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  3. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    It was 2005 and I had picked up my Dad from his place and drove to Montreal to attend what would be his 2nd last reunion to see his buddies from the 17th Duke of York's Royal Canadian Hussars. We overnighted at a hotel outside the city. I remember having breakfast early in the morning. The CBC was covering the DDay anniversary commemorations live from Normandy. A tear left my Dad's face. For those that did not get to come home.
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  4. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    Great photos - and great encounters & memories.

    I made it to Normandy in the summer of 1996 - I must have visited every memorial and museum between Omaha Beach and Bayeux. Actually, one of your pics shows Cafe Gondree... I was there, too. I have to admit that - being German - I kept a low profile, the French certainly did not notice from my English that I was not a native speaker. I bought my copy of Peter Harclerode's "Go To It" there, and personalized it by "Bought in Cafe Gondree, Benouville/Normandy, 5 August 1996"...
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  5. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    Have seen the film many times.... first impression at that time was: This was the last nail in the coffin to our defeat!
    It has taken a very long time until the realization has prevailed, that it was actually the beginning of a liberation. And this process was not an easy one, but quite painful!
    Honestly: What would I have given as a young guy to be allowed to be there at that time to change the course of history for my country!
    But at some point you had to recognize that it was no different for the guys back then - that their ideals were mercilessly abused by a criminal regime...and you yourself were on the side of the bad guys: God knows, not an easy realization!
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2021
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  6. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

    My interest in WW2 started in 2011 with the research of the great escape of Biberach and one of my heroes the very unfortunate Major Hugh Austin Woollatt,MC.
    Escaping as a POW through a tunnel in 1941 to be killed in action on D-day.:tank:
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  7. alberk

    alberk Well-Known Member

    The bad guys in "The Longest Day"... and a mademoiselle probably on reconnaissance for the Allies...

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