News / Europe

Veterans Reflect on Significance of D-Day 70th Anniversary

Veterans Reflect on Significance of D-Day 70th Anniversaryi
X
Mariama Diallo
June 04, 2014 10:29 PM
On June 6, 2014 millions around the world will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France - a turning point in World War II that changed the course of history. The anniversary revives memories for aging World War II veterans, but also is meaningful for others who were affected directly or indirectly by the war. VOA's Mariama Diallo reports.
Veterans Reflect on Significance of D-Day 70th Anniversary
Mariama Diallo
On June 6, 2014, millions around the world will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France - a turning point in World War II that changed the course of history. The anniversary revives memories for aging World War II veterans, but also is meaningful for others who were affected directly or indirectly by the war. 

At the World War II memorial in Washington, hundreds come every day to pay tribute to the friends and families they lost during the war. Cewin Johnson is among them.  Now 89 years old, he was only 19 when he lost his arm fighting in France.

“We were fighting in the village of Oberhofen which was about 20 miles west of Strasbourg and we’ve been in that village three times trying to take the town," he said. "We’ve gotten the Germans all boxed up at the end of the village. Gary heard the tank coming up the street and he sent the artillery in and hit the tank and that’s when I got hit too."

Ninety-two-year-old Frederick Douglass Williams is another veteran.  He says the hardest part of going to war was thinking about the loved ones left behind.

“I like what Winston Churchill said: they also served who sit and wait," he said. "Mothers, sweethearts; my poor mother, she went crazy. We knew and expected that but not them. 'Where is my son?'”

For World War II veterans and many others June 6, 1944 - D-Day - will never be forgotten. The Allied landings on Normandy marked the start of France's liberation from Nazi occupation, and ultimately led to Germany's defeat.   

“It’s one of the most important military operations ever conducted, probably the largest amphibious assault ever undertaken," said Christopher Yung, author of a book on the planning for D-Day. "It took a great deal of military thinking, ingenuity, perseverance."

The invasion was a crucial turning point.  

"It’s the first step in which the Allies were able to get back into the continent," Yung said. "The Germans had erected a gigantic fortress to prevent the allies from returning."

Brigadier General Bruno Caitucoli is the defense attaché at the French embassy in Washington. His 94-year-old father fought in the war.

"What my dad really explained to me so many times is the imporance of being ready to defend what is not really given: which is freedom, democracy, etcetera," he said.

In his office hangs a photo - a reminder of the sacrifice made during World War II.

"This picture shows Omaha Beach, bloody Omaha with the two flags, French and American flags together and about 3,000 human beings forming the letters of: We Will Never Forget, and on top of that, on top of Omaha beach, you have Coleville Cemetery," Caitucoli said.

Many died to make the invasion a success, but their sacrifice paved the way for Nazi Germany's surrender in May 1945.

You May Like

Russian Help on Iran Less Promising on Syria, Ukraine

US-Russian collaboration to secure a deal on Iran's nuclear program has raised hopes of closer cooperation on other world issues More

Video US: Millions Exploited by Vast Fortunes of Human Trafficking

State Department's annual report calls exploitation 'modern slavery,' brutalizing girls, women into prostitution and forcing men, women and children into low-wage jobs across the globe More

US-Ethiopia Relationship Strong, But Complicated

While Ethiopia serves as a valuable security ally and a bulwark against terrorism - the U.S., is a major aid donor and economic stimulator More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jean Kapenda from: USA
June 04, 2014 2:07 PM
History books rarely mention that D-Day was chosen based on the intelligence gathered at that time that Hitler's stockpile of industrial diamonds from the Congo had fallen to very low levels, meaning that the German military-industrial complex was already paralyzed. In other words, every airplane, tank, etc lost during the war would never be replaced. The United States and England were very successful in halting the supply of industrial diamonds from the Congo to Germany during WWII.

On the other hand, the Belgian Congo became of the key providers of strategic minerals to the United States used to manufacture a sizable portion of the weaponry, military vehicles, airplanes, etc. that landed in Normandy.

Finally, General Leslie, the Head of the Manhattan Project, wrote in his memoir that without the uranium from the Congo, the allies would have not been the first with the atomic bomb that ended the war in the Pacific and Asian fronts.

No matter how we look at WWII, the Congo played a decisive role in the end of the worst tyranny the world ever experienced.
In Response

by: Jean Kapenda from: USA
June 04, 2014 3:38 PM
I meant, General Leslie Groves.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backersi
X
Michael Bowman
July 26, 2015 8:44 PM
Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Underground Streetcar Station In Washington, DC, to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Rise in HIV Infections Worries Ugandan Officials

Uganda had the third-highest number of new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa last year, reversing its reputation for successfully tackling the epidemic in the 1990s. Although the percentage of people living with HIV/AIDS is still half of what it was in the 1980s, the increase in new infections is worrying to health workers. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs