Saturday, June 06, 2009

Remembering D-Day

Friends, I know moments like September 11, 2001 are so close to our hearts because it wasn't that long ago. Well-meaning folks want the US Government to make 9/11 a national holiday.

I mean no harm here, but we must also remember days like Pearl Harbor Day (that's December 7, 1941 if you're scoring at home) and D-Day.

D-Day happened today - June 6 - in 1944. It was among the bloodiest days in the history of the world, with approximately 10,000 allied soldiers killed or wounded. That includes American, Canadian, and British forces.

If you've seen Saving Private Ryan (and if you haven't, shame on you), the opening scene is the storming of Normandy. This is from the History Channel.

Incidentally, the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans is among the two or three best museums I have ever been to. It has since been rebranded as the National World War II Museum. Please take some time out from Bourbon Street and Pat O'Briens to stop by this amazing place.

There is plenty of D-Day stuff online to satiate your inner historian. For those who don't know such things, remember: TV was truly in its infancy. Those who lived through it got their news via the printed word and the radio.

Go here and you can listen to CBS Radio's coverage. If you want to hear NBC then go here. There were only three networks then - CBS, NBC Blue and NBC Red. You'll notice they back then, instead of "Eastern Standard Time", broadcasters used "Easter WAR Time." Beyond that, you'll notice the lack of information that was initially available. Again, everything is either via phone calls or telegrams.

You've probably all heard the famous NBC three chime signal, but did you know that a fourth chime was used on D-Day? The fourth chime was used in moments of importance, as a signal to key staffers to phone in immediately. The first time it was used was in 1937, when the Hindenberg burst over New Jersey.

Plenty more here. Or here. Or here.

I can't even imagine what it must have been like. Just Google "D-Day on the Radio" and you'll find a treasure trove of goodies.

So take a moment, on this 65th anniversary of one our most crucial days, to remember the brave souls who fought hard for our freedom.

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