It feels a bit sad to write about D-Day when the sun’s shining and the birds are tweeting and everywhere looks so green and pleasant, but back on D-Day 70 we met two D-Day veterans who became friends and so this time every year I can’t help but ponder the fate of so many soldiers that took part in the monumental event that was the 6th June 1944.
For years, the trouble with history for me was that it was confined to black and white photographs or sepia tones and then one day I had the realisation that the colours I saw in the outdoors and in the hedgerows or in the fields or sky were what those soldiers saw in the days leading up to D-Day. In fact even sitting here writing this up the shed with the door open and the wind swishing the trees and bees buzzing and birds tweeting and my words on paper as I write by hand, were what those people back then would also have experienced. I wonder that it’s made more poignant that many hundreds of soldiers and GIs were stationed here in Swanage, many of them landing on Omaha Beach, making this town with its beautiful views out towards the Isle of Wight and across the English Channel their last place of comfort and safety. A safe haven before that fateful day.
I imagine many of them wrote home from this very town, some for the last time. It makes me very aware that the reason I can sit here in freedom was because of those people making the ultimate sacrifice for me.
Back on D-Day 71 we organised an afternoon tea party for as many D-Day veterans as we could gather together. It was a very special day. This year I’m going to write a letter to the two we met on D-Day 70. It would be amazing for all D-Day veterans to receive a letter of thanks somehow but I’m not sure how to make that happen. Just so they know they are very much remembered 75 years on.