Tuesday, 6th June 1944
77 years ago today, my father, along with over 350,000 troops from the UK, US, Canada, France, Australia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, New Zealand, Greece, and many other allies and commonwealth countries set out, by sea, to Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno, and Sword beaches in northern France.
Operation Overlord and the landings codenamed Operation Neptune, commonly referred to as D-Day was the largest seaborne invasion in history.
The operation began the liberation of France (and later western Europe) and laid the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front that was the beginning of the end for the Nazis, Hitler, and World War II.
That day alone there were over 10,000 casualties and nearly 4,500 confirmed dead. My father was lucky to survive, and only in his later years told me the horrors that he witnessed and the fear that he faced that day.
It was a fear faced by all the invading force, men and women from all colors, races, creeds, and beliefs, shoulder to shoulder, united in one thing - good versus evil, right versus the very wrong. As I think back to my father and our long chats about the world, life, philosophy, I wonder what he would make of the world today as we head to our own beaches with our towels, sunbrellas, coolers, buckets, and spades.
What would he have made of the state of world politics today? The Russians, Putin, and their veil of deception, interference, and Maskirovka. The North Koreans and their self-inflicted isolation. The rise and demise of divisive figures like Trump and his continued threat to democracy. To the global pandemic and the highly questionable and possible root of the cause in the produce market, or surely more likely the laboratory in Wahun.
As they made their way to occupied France those decades ago, with the bombardment of munitions coming down upon them, did they care about the color of the skin of the soldier next to them, no they did not, the color of their blood was the same, their beliefs in right and wrong kept them together, united, as one.
Even in a time of war, and as the enemy surrendered or were captured, they were treated with the utmost respect - there was no room for racism, bias, or hatred between mankind, there had been enough of that, good could defeat evil, and in the end, it did.
The problem is that humankind has a short memory. Worse today than ever before. With video games, Hollywood, we have learned to fantasize and find glory in sometimes the most despicable things. There is no honor in killing on the battlefield, only regret, and remorse. It's a duty, an enormous responsibility that should never ever be taken lightly, and lived with my father to the end of his days.
Today, our children watch TV, movies, play games where somehow death has been trivialized and fantasized about, and even if they are aware of what our fathers, their grandfathers went through 77 years ago, they think it's some script out of an old black and white movie.
So, as you head down to the beach this summer with your beach towels, your windbreaks, your cooler full of cold beers, take a moment to think about our fathers and how they sacrificed so much for our freedom today.
Freedom: tend it well, treat it with the utmost care, respect it, and protect it for all of us and our generations to come.
Thank you to my father and all those brave souls who have fought for our liberty and freedom on this day in 1944, for all those that went before, and to all those since and now who are protecting our freedoms today.
Lest we forget.
Thank you so much for all your support, you can check out my website at www.willymitchell.com and visit my Gallery and Music section to learn more.
Willy Mitchell is an indie author, writer, and storyteller. His first title was Operation ARGUS, and then the sequel Bikini BRAVO where a group of former Special Air Service operatives enter the dark and murky world of maskirovka and discover the lengths that some people will go for power and greed. Cold COURAGE tells the epic tale of Shackleton's 1914 Trans-Antarctic Expedition and all that was happening in those extraordinary times. Book four, Northern ECHO tells the story of two boys growing up during the punk rock revolution in the north of England, and how a dark secret keeps them apart until the end. Mitchell's latest installment, is Gipsy MOTH about his Aunt Nikki, her friend, and fellow Aviatrix, Amy Johnson, and Amelia Earhart on the other side of the pond during the golden age of aviation.
Up next? SS Indigo is the story of an eclectic mix of guests mysteriously invited to a cruise on a luxury steamship around the Caribbean. The only thing they have in common is their lust for power, advancement, and wealth.
All of Mitchell's books so far are novels, works of fiction, blended with real events. For further information or how to buy his books, visit his author website: