Well, we all know that today is the 67th anniversary of D-Day (code name Operation Overlord). So I thought I would take the time to post a couple of things military-related of course!
First, as always, thank you to all our active military personnel and veterans, especially those who participated in one of the greatest military actions in US history 67 years ago today. If you can, make sure you thank a service member – we wouldn’t be enjoying the freedoms we have today if it weren’t for them!
My dad and I watched the movie “Guadalcanal Diary” yesterday. It’s based on the book I just read by Richard Tregaskis. First, the book is much better – it really makes you understand what the USMC was up against during this battle. If you’re looking for historically accurate information, read the book, don’t watch the movie. But please note that the movie was released in 1943, during the battles raging in the Pacific. So this was more of a “Support Our Men, Buy War Bonds” movie (it really was, they advertise the war bonds at the end!!). The movie has a narrator who keeps going on about what the USMC was facing while inserting philosophical tidbits (“It’s a dire battle we can win” sort of thing). Of course, my dad is nearly doubled over on the couch laughing because some parts were just so ridiculous it was almost too much to bear. My least favorite scene was when the Marines are out walking in the WIDE open (it was mostly forests on these islands but in the movie, they seemed to be on a different island with fields of tall grass) headed towards what everyone except the Marines in the movie seemed to know were caves embedded in the hillside with Japanese soldiers. That’s when I lost it – it was too funny because you know that the Marines would never do that!!! Ugh – read the book, trust me – it’s excellent and way better than the movie. If nothing else, I finally saw a movie that advertised war bonds…
I also watched “Taking Chance” with Kevin Bacon. This was an HBO movie and wow! I’ve actually seen it before but it has been awhile so I thought I would re-watch it. The movie is based on a book/journal (I can’t seem to find either) written by Col. Michael Strobhl of the USMC. He volunteered for escort duty for a soldier (Chance Phelps) killed in Iraq. The true story focuses on the soldier’s journey after he’s killed to Dover Air Force Base and Strobhl’s journey from the base escorting Chance’s remains home to his family in Wyoming. It’s just an emotional movie because you start to understand what the service men and women do at Dover (I just can’t even fathom doing that day in and day out) to make sure that those service people killed in action are buried with the greatest dignity possible. It really hit me that while Col. Strobhl is traveling, all the people who tried to figure out how to say “Thank You” and convey their respects for the loss that they really just didn’t understand. I think that’s something most people can relate to and it really hit home for me.
Finally, the Military Channel (my 2nd favorite channel behind either History/History International) is having an all day marathon dedicated to D-Day so check it out – I’m watching some of the programs right now while typing this. I’m enjoying it and actually learning something which is always refreshing. They’ve had a lot of first person and second person (kids talking about what their dads did in the battle) stories – what stories do you have to pass on? I would love to hear them!