Friday, 6 June 2014

D-Day ~ Ode to Heroes

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Today marks the 70th anniversary of D-day (6th June 1944). The day on which Allied troops landed by air and sea as part of Operation NEPTUNE which was the landing phase of the broader invasion of Normandy known as Operation OVERLOARD.

Of the 160,000 troops who crossed the English Channel on D-Day, approximately 12,000 were reported as casualties with 4,400 confirmed dead.

Most of these men would baulk at being called heroes. In my opinion these men, who despite all odds delivered troops, took bridges and secured the drop-zones and beach-heads that day, are all heroes.

“At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
we will remember them.”

D-Day – Ode to Heroes

Doors opened
commands flew
helmets surged forward
and the view cleared.
Darkness rushed past
and then a blast of air
tumbling…
Tumbling…
Check canopy,
kick out twists,
steer away,
and the ground rushed up
thud, roll, release, RV,
then push forward.
Capture, destroy,
clear drop zones,
gliders disgorged
as the push continued.
Capture, destroy,
bridges over Douve, Caen, Orne, Dives,
the battery at Merville
as their comrades fell
they pushed forward.

The ramp lowered
commands flew
helmets surged forward
the view cleared
sand, water, wire, smoke, bodies
stretching….
Stretching….
Push forward
into chest deep, cold water.
So cold.
Heavy battle dress; sodden
dragged down
stumbled forward
friends all around
with grim faces
over the hornet buzz of bullets
the crump of artillery and bombs
came the skirl of bagpipes playing
whilst sand laden water leaped
and men fell, torn apart
screams rent the air
and still they drove forward
on UTAH, OMAHA, GOLD, JUNO, and SWORD
they pushed on,
as comrades fell
they overcame the urge to hide
and ran, staggered and crawled forward

When their countries called
they stepped up
they paid an unimaginable price.
Some pay it still.
These men, Heroes all.
We will remember them.

John Carré Buchanan
05 June 2014

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