I don’t know why I keep bringing this up every year and call me a silly ol’ fool, but this past Sunday marked the anniversary of D-Day, the invasion of Normandy in World War II and the beginning of the liberation of Europe. And is my custom, I found myself in front of the flat screen watching what I call my D-Day Trilogy; The Longest Day, Saving Private Ryan and the second episode of Band of Brothers. The trouble with the latter is that I get caught up in the characters and end up watching the whole danged miniseries.
Anyway, even after all these years the invasion on that day, codenamed Operation Neptune, is still talked about. And why not? It was, in fact, the largest amphibious assault in all of history, and that’s not including the hundreds of gliders and the thousands of airborne troops who parachuted in. Up until then, as far as I know, most people didn’t know where Normandy was, much less find France on a map, and I guess Mark Twain had it right: “God created war so that Americans would learn geography.”
Memorial Day last week got me thinking about wartimes again, and I guess WWII is the first one that comes to mind with a lot of people, except for maybe the Z-Gens or Millennials, for whom it’s something that only exists in the great-grandad generation of black and white movies. I suppose they touch upon it in school still; Roosevelt and Churchill and Stalin. And the Hitler stuff that’s still hard to stomach. Here it is 76 some odd years later and it seems the world is still trying to straighten itself out from its aftereffects, from nuclear weapons to the middle east conflict; they’re still in the news.
But some of us are in the generation that became readers with Dick and Jane books and learned arithmetic by straight memorization. About math, though, I’m told the latest method works pretty well but I’m glad I got it the old school way. We were taught history mostly from war to war, who won this, and who won that, as far back as the Peloponnesian and Punic wars through the American Revolution and up to Korea and, by 1967, a little of Vietnam.
Those of us Baby Boomers have heard from our parents about what they went through in the first half of the 1940s, but that period seems to captivate every generation, even those of my grandchildren’s generation.
In any case, if you let D-Day slip by this year, don’t forget what’s coming up next Monday, June 14. It’s Flag Day, celebrating the adoption of the American flag made by Betsy Ross in 1777. We were taught she cut up her petticoat to make the 13 stars for the first flag, but today that version would be known as an urban myth, I reckon. But it makes for us a few giggles and a great story.
Oh yes, Father’s Day is coming up, as is American Eagle Day, and as public service here is a sample of some other “days” you might not be aware of coming up in June.
There’s National Upsy Daisy Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Bath Day, Flip Flop Day, Hike with a Geek Day, and Go Fishing Day. And, why-oh-why would we need a National Social Media Day on June 30? I mean, between Facebook and Twitter isn’t that pretty much every day?
There are, of course, several more but I didn’t want to fill up this space with nothing but.
Before I forget it, June is Dog Lover’s Month, so in the spirit of things I looked up this little factoid: 58 percent of dog owners consider themselves their pets’ mom or dad.
Speaking of pet owners, who admits to any of the following:
- Nearly a third of pet owners spend more time with their pets than with family or friends.
- Six out of 10 pet owners say they would spend $1,000 or more to save their pets’ lives.
- 70 percent report that playing with their pet when they are stressed or worried relaxes them.
- Half say they celebrate their pets’ birthdays, and almost 80 percent give them gifts for their birthdays or holidays.
But I digress.
When I learned that D-Day is short for “Day-Day,” and H-Hour is short for “Hour-Hour,” it came as no surprise, having served in the military. The military has always had its own names for common things. For example, a shovel is not a shovel, it’s an entrenching tool. A bed is a rack. The men’s room is a latrine. A shirt is a blouse. And you don’t need duct tape, you need “tape, adhesive cloth, 2 in.”
I’m not sure how the term SNAFU translates into the regular world, but it has popped into my head on more than one occasion.