Eighty years later, D-Day is celebrated, perverted


This past week marked the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the June 6, 1944, multi-pronged Allied invasion along the beaches of Normandy, France, that began the liberation of that country and western Europe from the control of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany and the Axis powers.

It effectively turned the tide of World War II.

Between the land and the air, more than 156,000 Allied troops landed on D-Day. More than 10,000 were killed as the Axis beaches were fortified with mines and other obstacles, and gun emplacements battered the invading soldiers every step of the way.

For the 80th anniversary, French president Emmanuel Macron hosted a contingent of D-Day survivors — as well as President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin — for a ceremony commemorating the victory and the sacrifices made to secure it.

The youngest living World War II vets are likely in their 90s, with many now more than a century old. Ceremonies honoring them are rife with their wheelchairs.

At the 80th anniversary D-Day ceremony, some vets’ remarks were read by others, as the men themselves have grown too frail to deliver them.

Actor Martin Freeman lent his voice to one such soldier, 99-year-old Joe Mines from Hornchurch, England, whose D-Day job was, perhaps ironically, to clear mines from Gold Beach.

He was 19 at the time.

“Joe Mines, clearing mines,” Freeman read on Mines’ behalf. “One of our fellows trod on one and blew his leg off. The whole leg went. War is brutal.”

So why, 80 years on, did Mines return to the scene of such carnage?

“This is the last and only opportunity for me,” Freeman read. “The last there will ever be. And it is because of the lads. I want to pay my respects to those who didn’t make it. May they rest in peace.”

Talk to any D-Day veteran, indeed most any combat veteran, and they’ll tell you the honors and accolades don’t belong to them. They belong to those of their fellows whose blood was spilled, whose bodies were destroyed, in the effort to achieve victory.

And, in the case of World War II, save the world from evil.

That’s why men like Joe Mines show up, no matter how old, no matter how infirm. It’s to make sure we never forget the boys who didn’t make it. Indeed, the ones who afforded us the chance to look back with pride in the first place.

Which is why it was particularly disgusting to see right-wing pundit Charlie Kirk say former president Donald Trump and his devotees — of which Kirk is certainly one — are fighting “the same type of totalitarianism” in the United States under Biden the Allies did on D-Day.


Ask any World War II vet whose views and policies in the United States of 2024 resemble those of Hitler and the Axis, and see what they say.

Over the weekend, Ohio senator J.D. Vance — reportedly a Trump vice-presidential hopeful — hypothetically wondered to Fox News host Maria Bartiromo what D-Day vets — often called the Greatest Generation — might think of “sex changes for minors,” a wholly created social boogeyman from the MAGA GOP.


Eighty years later, D-Day remains one of the most important in modern world history.

The lives of the Allied soldiers who were killed that day must never be forgotten, and should be enshrined as some of the most crucial sacrifices ever made.

There will come a time, painfully soon, when there will be no one left to tell us directly what those beaches looked like on June 7, 1944, so it’s important to commemorate and communicate with such people for as long as we can, and then pass on what we’ve learned.

It’s depressing — infuriating even — to know the Kirks and Vances — and the Trumps — of the world see D-Day and its survivors only as a means to make cheap, fatuous political points.

But it’s not surprising.

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