The Longest Day
Updated: Jun 11, 2021
It was 75 years ago yesterday that the Allies crossed the English Channel and launched an assault on Nazi occupied Europe. Being Canadian and born in 1961 to a mother whose father spent six years overseas training and fighting, it was always a big deal to me. I had models of the weapon systems and the popular books. I studied the history of the conflict as an undergrad and at the graduate level. Popular movies and programs like Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers and The Pacific kept the images current. For Canadian and Americans especially. Yet the public sense of the war has changed as public senses do. The impact and importance recedes in memory, and the survivors dwindle. But the sight of the trembling 94-year-old veteran struggling to stay erect as the national anthem is played at a memorial ceremony in Normandy brings tears to my eyes, as it did to his. God bless these men and what they gave for their country and the people of France, Holland and Belgium in return for pain, suffering, isolation, sometimes death and a few dollars a month. It is, and always will be no matter how many years pass, a remarkable example.
The question of whether this generation could and would do what that one did comes to mind. I can only say; I like to think so.
Retirement planning continues apace. We have attended banquets and parties for all the staff who are leaving. I have mixed emotions. There was bound to be sadness along with the elation. Those who are no longer with us especially come to mind. Looking back will do that. Regret too has raised its awkward and painful face. What I could have or should have done in my career is now impossible to even think of addressing. Letting that go is difficult I am finding. But nothing stays the same forever for anyone and something new awaits. Maybe even someone new. (me I mean) My attitude is that I am changing the focus, not retiring from my life. We’ll see how that works out, I guess.
Paris in the Present Tense kept me walking around with a catch in my throat for the last week. Mark Helprin has a unique gift. I didn’t want to keep reading because I knew he was going to break my heart. That’s all I’ll say about it. He’s a treasure and it’s a powerful book.
Here’s some of my prose and have a great week!
“How come you’re not with a House?”
Rasede shrugged. None of the fighting House reps had ever spoken to him. To train or to spar.
“It’s a big Empire,” Rasede said. “Lots of fighters. Lots of fights.”
“Not like you there aren’t. And not like tonight,” the bartender said. “That guy,” he thumbed over his shoulder at the beaten man, now on his knees and snorting blood all over the alley, “He’s pretty good. And you aced him with one hand.”