Sixty-five years ago today … D-Day

Swastika on a Normandy Beach I always read the Today: Twenty years ago, or seventy-five years ago and so on columns in newspapers. Well, today 65 years ago it was D-Day. (And yes David, should you be reading this, I know Operation Overlord did not start on June 5 …) Today’s commemoration ceremonies seemed to […]

Swastika on a Normandy Beach

I always read the Today: Twenty years ago, or seventy-five years ago and so on columns in newspapers.

Well, today 65 years ago it was D-Day. (And yes David, should you be reading this, I know Operation Overlord did not start on June 5 …)

Today’s commemoration ceremonies seemed to have needed as much planning as the real event in 1944. There were also an equal amount of quarreling between France and Britain. Reminded me of what Winston Churchill said about General de Gaulle: “Many a cross I had to bear but none as heavy as the Cross of Lorraine.”

The quarreling started because the French (President Sarkozy) did not invite Queen Elizabeth to the ceremonies to be held today in Normandy.

Sarkozy, or rather his office, described the commemoration to journalists as ‘primarily a Franco-American ceremony’.

I wonder whether this was supposed to be a joke.

If so, no-one was laughing.

Least of all, Queen Elizabeth.

When the British media got hold of the story of the snub, Buckingham Palace immediately announced that no member of the royal family will attend. But Buck House was not angry. “We would like to reiterate that we have never expressed any sense of anger or frustration at all, and are content with all the arrangements that are planned,” said a Palace spokeswoman.

PM Gordon Brown (he, in deep trouble at home where no-one wants him to remain at the head of the government, or indeed for his government to remain) was to attend though.

President Obama then went and said that the Queen was welcome to attend; he was inviting her. As neither Gordon Brown nor Buck House said thank you to him, I will now do so (seeing I took an oath of allegiance to the Queen and all her descendants when I became a British Subject). “Thank you President Obama because might we not be all speaking German now here in France were it not for the Brits – and the Americans.”

I must also say that President Sarkozy (or his office) also did not invite the heads of state of any of the other countries who had participated in the Normandy landings. And those other countries were (alphabetically) Australia, Belgium, Canada, Netherlands, Norway and Poland. (There were Free France soldiers as well.)

In 2004, for the 60th commemoration the heads of all these states were invited, even Vladimir Putin was invited, and Chancellor Gerhardt Schröder represented Germany.

Therefore why could President Sarkozy not do so this time? But maybe he is saving money for his next official trip to some sunny place to which he will add a private holiday. And to take his mother-in-law along too.

Or if the 65th is not to be made a fuss over, why commemorate D-Day at all? But having only the U.S. president here and then the British PM and Prince Charles thrown in to save face, does not make sense. So sorry to have to tell you this Monsieur Sarkozy, but you’ve made a mistake.

I will let you add up what the final casualty figure was, but the breakdown is as follows:

Britain/Commonwealth/Europe: Killed 16,138; Wounded 58,594; Missing 9,093

USA: Killed 20,838; Wounded 84,881; Missing 10,128

Another 16,714 airmen died in direct connection to Operation Overland.

And 78 Free French were killed and 195 wounded.

AND 19,860 French civilians were killed and I must say that if there is a region of France where a Brit or an American is always welcome, then it’s Normandy. There the people have not forgotten.

German soldiers died in Operation Overlord too. There are no statistics of how many German troops were involved, but it is estimated that between 288,000 and 450,000 were. In just one battle 60,000 German soldiers were killed, wounded or captured. And at the end of the operation (August ’44) nearly 200,000 were held prisoner.

Therefore, in Normandy were the Allied fallen lie buried there are also lie German soldiers.

That August of ’44 many cities and towns in Normandy and northern France were in ruins, but on the 25th the Americans and a French regiment liberated Paris which had been occupied since June 1940.

So here comes another commemoration.

Who will President Sarkozy remember to forget to invite this time?

Marilyn Z. Tomlins

6 Responses to “Sixty-five years ago today … D-Day”

  1. 6
    Jo Says:

    I don't know what Harper's French is like, but don't forget over here French is our second language, merci Quèbec, and if you listen to Canadian French it sounds appalling if you are used to real French that is.

  2. 5
    Marilyn Z. Tomlins Says:

    Yes, after Obama said that the Queen was welcome to attend, Buck House said that the Queen could not go because she had another engagement but that Prince Charles would attend. I wonder if they thought that the Queen, at her age, could dash over to France at the last minute.

    The French are saying that Obama's speech was best – I thought so too.

    Your PM's cute … But I think that he ought not speak French because then he doesn't come over to cute anymore.

  3. 4
    Jo Says:

    Had I been one of those heads of state or important persons and not been invited, then invited later, I would have told Sarkozy to stuff it. Did you say Prince Charles was there?

  4. 3
    Marilyn Z. Tomlins Says:

    Jo — I just watched the ceremony on tv and I saw that the Canadian PM was present too. So he, too, was sent a last-minute invite.

  5. 2
    Jo Says:

    Great minds think alike, I wrote a bit about D-Day this morning too. Considering the Queen was actually part of the armed forces at the time, I think its something of an insult for her not to have been invited. However, they aren't taking offense, officially anyway, so why should I.

    Its not really up to Obama to invite her, is it?

  6. 1
    Anonymous Says:

    must remember always

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