Thursday, June 5, 2014

D-Day 360

A few nights ago we watched the best documentary, D-Day 360, on PBS commemorating the 70th anniversary of the fight to take back Europe. The documentary recreates the invasion using very impressive CGI and focuses on twin brothers from Virginia who were part of the 25 "Bedford Boys" who fought in the battle at Normandy. Having recently visited the World War II museum in New Orleans, I found it it extremely interesting. Of the 25 "boys" sent to fight in D-Day operations; 19 were killed. Can you imagine? It also blows me away to think that to my grandparents' generation these were their friends and family members. Mama Jean's two brothers were both pilots and both came home. Both of Ryan's grandfathers fought in World War II - although neither one really talked about his experiences.

For my parent's 25th wedding anniversary they took us to France and we spent Christmas in Normandy. It was interesting to see the footage in the documentary and compare it to our pictures from that trip in 2003.

The American Battle Monuments Commission Normandy American Cemetery

This 22-foot bronze statue is "The Spirit of the American Youth Rising from the Waves"

The iconic white crosses - what amazed me here was learning that only 39% of those killed in battle at Normandy are buried here. Many of the crosses said, "Here Rests in Honored Glory a Comrade in Arms Known But to God."

If all the D-Day coverage puts you in the history reading mood I have a few book suggestions:

Unbroken (my review is here) - Angelina Jolie is currently directing this film based on a true WWII survival story. It's scheduled to come out on Christmas Day this year.

The Century Trilogy by Ken Follett - the third book comes out this fall - I love all of Follett's work but the first two books in the series were wonderful. Fall of Giants starts pre-Great War and follows different families in both Europe and the US. Winter of the World follows a new generation of those families through World War II. I could not put these books down! I drove all over Jackson one day when the second book came out trying to find a library copy!

 And a few that are more people at focused than war focused


What are your favorite World War II era books?

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