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National Review Online reprints an article written by William McGurn 10 years ago for the 50th anniversary of D-Day, a remembrance sparked by his visit to the first town liberated by the Allies, St. Mere-Eglise. I found it to be oddly satisfying in that it not only honors the memories of all those who died to free Western Europe, as well as those who lived through it, but points out that political cluelessness may always surround D-Day anniversaries:
Smack-dab in the middle of the little town that bears its name stands the thirteenth-century church of Ste-Me`re-Eglise, as proud and sturdy as the people who built it. As such there is little to distinguish it from the many other stone churches that crowd the Norman landscape. Except for this: a special, stained-glass Madonna and Child that I have always found more engaging than all the glories of Chartres. For the Madonna of Ste-Me`re-Eglise is surrounded by American paratroopers descending from the heavens. ...
Like the original invasion, too, this year's hasn't been without its flaps. Dame Vera Lynn, the British "Forces Sweetheart" who gave the troops "Yours" and "The White Cliffs of Dover," nearly brought down John Major in a tiff over ceremonies at New Hyde Park. Chancellor Kohl let it be known he felt snubbed by the lack of an invitation. And the French government, bent on a stupidity that I hitherto had thought reserved for the Republican Party, canceled private hotel reservations made by Canadian D-Day vets (they were ultimately restored, but only after a huge stink).
Today will provide many kinds of remembrances of the Allied sacrifice at D-Day and beyond, but McGurn reminds us that too often, those memories only surface on June 6. Read the whole thing.
UPDATE: The Milbloggers do a great job with D-Day memorials. Blackfive has a comprehensive set of links.Sphere It View blog reactions
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