Lest we forget, 70 Years on from D-Day



Seventy years ago today thousands lost their lives, and thousands upon thousands more put their own lives at the highest of risks so that we could be free. Operation Overlord had been months in planning, secrets kept from all those that needn’t know as to not put any risks onto an operation that saved an unimaginatively amount of lives.

Throughout the history of man there has been more wars than are worth recanting, more bad deeds than most would want to remember, but also acts of bravery, acts that have saved lives, acts that has brought back faith in humanity. D-Day was one of those days where no words exist to describe just what the allied forced did for humanity. Young, terrified and many doubting whether they would live through the day men of the allied forced landed on the beaches of Normandy, and despite their fears, those men through their bravery and their sacrifices brought the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany. Without those men, the world we live in today may very well be one very different.

I have been fortunate enough to have met and spoken with people that were on those beaches and lived; my daughter’s great-grandfather who sadly passed before she was born fought in Normandy himself. What those people did, what those people sacrificed is something that I am never going to be able to fully comprehend. I wasn’t alive during the war, I didn’t see first-hand the devastation that was caused, and therefore I cannot pretend to be able to fully understand what took place. I do however come from a country that was invaded by German forces during the war, and I know the devastation brought not necessarily by the German Nazis, but by Norwegian nationalists. Thanks to those men that fought on the beaches, by the following spring my country was a free country again along with others across Europe. What those men did on the Beaches wasn’t just about freeing France, it was about ending the war, and for that, for what those men did, we should never ever stop feeling an endless amount of gratitude.

Every day I wake up in a world where children get murdered or turned into soldiers in order to murder others. It’s a world where people are still persecuted for their religious beliefs, for the colour of their skin or their culture. That’s a world that those men fought against. They gave their lives for freedom, and whilst all the big and powerful leaders of the world celebrate those men and the victory that begun seventy years ago, they all seem to ignore the fact that in those seventy years, still enough hasn’t been done in order to ensure our children grow up in a better world.

The Second World War came to an end in 1945, it took until 1964 and the Presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson to finally create the proper legislations to attempt to end racial inequality. That is a country that during the war “let” black men fight for them, for their country, but refused to give them the same rights at war or at home as their white counter parts. South Africa took until the 1990s to finally bring an end to apartheid, a movement built on scientific racism, something Hitler himself was so very fond of, in Australia many say apartheid is a movement that remains alive and kicking. In 2014 Neo-Nazism and extreme nationalism is ripe across Europe, in recent news perhaps most noticeably in the Ukraine which may very well end up with a far-right government, with the support of the West no less. Although I am originally from Norway, I live in the United Kingdom, where there are several companies that claim not to be nationalists or discriminatory, yet they collect members by playing on xenophobia and racism that stems from unhappiness brought on by an immigration policy that hasn’t been the worst. Amongst us walk people who are members of Nationalistic parties, in our parliaments are people that are friendly towards those who represent everything that those men fought on the beaches. How can we celebrate them 70 years on, yet remain so blind as to what is all around us?

We celebrate and we show our gratitude towards the men and women that spent years fighting oppression so that we could be free. During this special day, the 6th of June 2014, we celebrate those who lived and remember with gratitude those who died on those beaches so that the Nazis wouldn’t win. They fought so that we would be free of the hatred spouted by the Nazis, and we should honour their memories by never succumbing to our supporting those that continue to spout hatred for someone that believes in a different God or has a different skin colour from their own. I hope that my daughter gets to grow up in a world where more is done to fight inequality, and that lessons are learned from history so that we will not make the same mistakes again, so that we will not let them happen. And I hope that by the times we celebrate 80, 90 or 100 years since D-Day, we can finally say that we live in a world where everyone can experience the freedom that those men gave to us.

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