On 6th June 65 years ago, Allied troops attacked Hitler’s Reichswehr in an unprecedented kind of military operation. Codenamed “Operation Overlord”, the attack successfully beat back Third Reich troops from Normandy and in August would eventually liberate Paris, and the first day of the operation, which came to be known as D-Day, marked the beginning of the definite end of Hitler’s dream of a Nazi-controlled “Fortress Europe”.
Hundreds of thousands of soldiers lost their lives or got severely injured, and thousands were declared missing.
Several survivors of the attack were awarded the French Legion of Honour medal yesterday. Among those honorees is Nathan Kline, whose story has made the news over the last couple of days.
Nathan Kline wrapped a white monogrammed scarf around his neck and placed a bulletproof prayer book in his left shirt pocket. He’d followed the same routine for all of his previous bombing runs over Europe, but the teenager from Allentown, Pa., knew there was nothing routine about this mission.
Nothing routine at all about this day, June 6, 1944 – D-Day.
More excited than nervous, Kline squeezed his small frame into the cramped Plexiglas nose of a B-26 Marauder and took off from an English base, joining thousands of his airborne mates over the English Channel. His destination: Normandy, France, where 50,000 German troops awaited the Allied invasion.
Now 84, Kline still has the scarf, the prayer book, and many other artifacts and honors from his role in the epic battle that turned the tide of World War II. [Full article]
Here is a video of Nathan Kline sharing his story:
As a final note, I’d like to say that the world owes a lot to those soldiers that have risked and often lost their lives for freedom and democracy. And I agree with Middle on that it’s much easier to call for war being at safe distance than have your son, brother, father, friend, or partner out on the front. Both my great-grandfathers on the maternal side served in WW1. Both of them survived, one of them Verdun. Both became outspoken pacifists. War is insane, and alas, there obviously are political forces out there that will much rather inflict that kind of insanity onto their own people than show readiness to compromise on political matters or for reasons even less smart.
Please stop the wars. Please stop the warmongers. Please stop the insanity.