• Life

    D-Day Plus 70 Years

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    Today is June 6, 2014.

    Close your eyes and step back seventy years as one hundred fifty thousand soldiers spill out of boats and charge the German fortifications at Normandy. They ultimately break through and begin the fall of the Third Reich, but at a frightening cost in death and blood.

    In Copenhagen, far, far behind the new front line, my grandmother is seven months pregnant with my father. The war won’t be over when he’s born, the youngest of seven children, but the end will be in sight, though very few realize it yet.

    His family emigrates to Canada in 1956.

    In 1966, while attending RMC, he meets my mother.

    They marry in 1968.

    And I’m born in 1970, 26 ½ years, plus a bit, after D-Day, all of which gives me a personal outlook on the resolution of World War II, as it does probably for many people who were born in the decades since, if they stop to think about.

    Do you see the chain?

    Had the D-Day invasion been unsuccessful, had the Nazis managed to fight off, somehow, the Allied invasion force, my father would still have it born. And while there’s no way to say that the allies would not have tried again, another time, another place, it might’ve been years later. And if they had, things would have been very different.

    My father’s family, under the Nazis, would certainly not have been permitted to emigrate in 1956. He would not have met my mother. They would not have gotten married. I would not have been born.

    Had D-day failed, I think there I have good reason to believe that I would not exist.

    But wait! What about the atomic bomb? Surely, the Allies would’ve use that against the Nazis if the Reich had still existed when it was ready. Maybe, but it took two bombs and as many hundred thousand dead to convince Japanese. Would it have taken the same to convince the Nazis? Where would those two craters be and what would’ve been the impact on all of the European history sense? The face the shape of Europe would like to be quite different. With a pair of craters in Germany, Denmark right next-door, when does the fall out go? And not just the radioactive fallout, but the political, social, and economic fallout. What happens next?

    It’s too easy to dive into wild speculations, but I suspect, for one poor Danish family looking for a better life, they might have been stuck where they were.

    My father would never have come to Canada, never met and married my mother, and I would never have been born.

    I never miss a chance to shake the hand of the World War II vet, and say thank you. The chances don’t come as often as they used to, and even on Remembrance Day when they got together, there are fewer and fewer. After all, D-Day was 70 years ago.

    But I won’t forget. Ever. I can’t, because I owe my existence to the D-Day invasion force, and all of those who came after.

    Take a moment and remember.

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