June 6, 1944 - It Really Was "The Longest Day"

posted by Mark Wainwright -

Do the following phrases mean anything to you?


"wound my heart with a monotonous languor"

(blessent mon coeur d'une langueur monotone)

Okay, how about...

"John has a long moustache"

(Jean a une longe moustache)


Those phrases meant a lot (as in life-and-death) to European radio listeners in 1944, and if they mean anything to you, you probably know more about the events of June 6, 1944 than most Americans.

(No, I won't explain here. Feel free to look it up.)

In the pre-dawn hours of that June morning, Allied troops began dropping into occupied France by parachute and gilder, while the French Resistance engaged in sabotage and diversion. A short time later, a massive armada of ships began landing American, British, Canadian, French, and other Allied troops on the beaches of Normandy.

It is hard to imagine that any of those troops survived that assault, much less survived the remainder of the war in Europe. Just making it to the dry part of the beach was an accomplishment; many of those guys were cut down in seconds, long before they could get out of the water. Saving Private Ryan is probably the movie that best captures the carnage and chaos of those moments, but I suspect that any D-Day veteran would tell you the reality was far worse.

It's been 74 years, and there aren't many D-Day survivors left. The remaining veterans are in their 90's and beyond, and their numbers are dwindling rapidly. Please take a moment to thank one, if you have that rare opportunity, and take an extra moment to remember the guys who didn't make it home. Their courage and sacrifice was beyond words.

If you were listening to NewsRadio 570 WSYR in the wee hours that morning, you might have heard this historic NBC News bulletin, broadcast at approximately 3:30 AM:

By the way, John really DID have a long moustache...

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