The Longest Day.
“You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.” -General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Today marks the 70th anniversary of the start of Operation Overlord. The heroic and nearly suicidal attack launched by the Allies against Nazi occupied Europe. Without the sacrifice of the thousands of men that died on the beaches of Normandy that day and on the subsequent ones, the world would be a very different place. Many of you reading this would probably not even be alive to know that. Human rights, freedoms, information, everything would not exist as we know it. For that reason it is my honour today to bring you some of my personal favourite takes on D-Day and each is a way to see into the past, to remember our history. (Yes, I am being serious again. And rightly so under the circumstances so quit yer whining and take notes.)
And to celebrate the Allied VICTORY and to honour our fallen heroes, I give you 5 things that you can do this D-Day.
“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” -Prime-Minister, Winston S. Churchill.
5: Saving Private Ryan.
Directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Tom Hanks and released in 1998. It starred Tom Hanks, Edward Burns, Matt Damon and Tom Sizemore
While the films plot is not entirely accurate and it does only tend to follow the American side, it does depict the landings and subsequent push in extraordinary detail.
“Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.” -President Roosevelt.
This boardgame, released by Days Of Wonder was commissioned in support of the 60th D-Day anniversary and remains poignant and perfect to this day. Designed as a two player game with each side facing off on the beaches of Normandy using cards and miniatures this is the perfect way to see the strategic methods behind the landings and maybe come with some for yourself.
“Today we rule Germany, tomorrow, the world.” -Adolf Hitler.
3: National Museum of Military History.
I have to say that you should visit the NATIONAL MUSEUM OF MILITARY HISTORY located in Johannesburg Next door to the zoo. The exhibits on offer here are absobloodylutely fantastic, and they give a real and visceral picture of what happened during the war.
This is their website. Go there. Now!
“We no longer demand anything, we want war.” –Ulrich Friedrich Wilhelm Joachim von Ribbentrop.
2: Band Of Brothers.
Featuring an incredible cast with the likes of Michael Fassbender, Simon Pegg, Damian Lewis and Ron Livingston. The series was again produced by Spielberg and Hanks and is one of the best things I have ever seen on a screen in my existence. The series follows the US 101st Airborne as they drop behind enemy lines on D-Day. Again while this is American, it does nothing to detract from the effort of all of the Allies over the course of the war.
“History knows no greater display of courage than that shown by the people of the Soviet Union.” -Henry Stimson.
1:British Imperial War Museum.
Finally at number one, something in the UK. If you are reading this from there or want to head there in the future, do so for this and for the air shows in September. I am of course referring to the Duxford Air force base and a part of the British Imperial War Museum Group.
With the best collection of D-Day memorabilia and a specific tour designed for the day, this should be on the bucket list for each and every one of you.
“The world must know what happened, and never forget.” –General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
At the end though. Remember what happened on this day and why. As the old quote says, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”