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Old 06-06-2014, 08:38 PM   #21
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I attended an 82nd Airborne convention in the mid 80's that was mostly run and hosted by WWII paratroopers and there were also a few British paratroopers and some Rangers who were able to make the trip. It will go down as one of the highlights of my life. In the evening there were a couple of open bars which were bartended by the WWII vets and the alcohol was flowing and so were the stories. They were among their fellow troopers past and present and felt free to talk about their experiences during that difficult time. The main theme was one of confusion and being dropped in the wrong location and trying to coordinate and make sense of the chaos in order to carry out their mission.

As young 20 year old who looked at these guys with awe at what they had accomplished I was amazed at the respect and admiration they had for the current members of the Airborne. They were our hero's but they looked to us to carry on their legacy (not possible) and it was such a humbling experience that I will always cherish.

All the parachute drop zones at Ft Bragg, the home of the 82nd Abn, are named after WWII drop sites in respect and memory of what they and many others accomplished.

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Thoughts on D Day
Old 06-07-2014, 04:52 AM   #22
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Thoughts on D Day

Movies do not do WWII justice at all. The tv series "World at War" used actual footage of D-Day, etc. The sheer terror of storming Normandy, the island-to-island fighting in the Pacific, the near-suicidal bombing missions in Europe early in the war... Hard to imagine, considering the odds of survival, how one would feel going into one of those missions/battles.

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Old 06-07-2014, 09:59 AM   #23
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D-Day was an incredible sacrifice by everyone involved and for those interested in the numbers I've attached a summary from a recent history magazine. Over the 77 day campaign the casualty rate across both sides and civilians was 6,674/day which was higher than at the battles of Verdun, the Somme or Passchendaele. (over 10,000 French civilians died in the bombings over the D-Day campaign).

It was very moving to see all the veterans there, and to see the D-Day veterans flag lowered for the last time since this will be the last such re-union. One US 93 year old ex paratrooper did a parachute jump and when asked if he was afraid, he said he wasn't frightened because this time no one was shooting at him.
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Old 06-07-2014, 01:08 PM   #24
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I have been there and Omaha Beach is definitely the worst place to attack. Plus the 10,000 graves of the soldiers really does emphasize the event! But like nun, I think it will leave the impression among most Americans that it was a US effort. Too bad. Another chance to educate Americans on the history of the world lost!

(I recall there were over 17,000 British soldiers lost during the D-Day invasion. If it had not been for the untiring efforts of the British, we would all be speaking German! Plus we have the Japanese to thank for the final involvement of the Americans after three plus years of fighting!)

For the fun of it...Keith
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