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It was three months short of my twelfth birthday that Operation Overlord, the landing of Allied Forces on the Normandy beaches to recapture Europe, was launched. I remember it more vividly than many things about WW2. The pictures in the cinema newsreels, the word descriptions from the frontline journalists all contributed but the account my father gave my sister and myself is always top of mind as this eightieth anniversary comes round.

The media have given us vivid memories and moving reminders of the sacrifices made by those who served, those who lost their lives and those wounded who lived on but in a dark and often lonely world with nightmares of war but few of the rewards of peace. My Uncle David was among the fortunate who returned fit and able to lead a normal life. My second son is named after him.

The ceremonies and speeches in Normandy and elsewhere in the last few days have been a good tribute and a timely reminder of what that war was for. It followed WWI, ambiguously named The Great War and lauded as ‘the war to end all wars’. The irony of both those attributes is shocking. WWII led to a long period of relative peace during which technology has equipped adversaries with armaments of untold destruction and life-changing behaviour.

The greatest irony, however, is that just when the world needs full cooperation to combat a rogue climate and many other problems demonstrably beyond our ken, our nationalistic impulses are once again showing the folly of division. And threatening the peace we all want.

Our remembrance is best shown by a united effort to tackle our threats and learn how to rejoice in our inventions. ‘Delusional’ one reader wrote to me when I raised the same subject in an earlier Daily Paradox.

Well, we’d better learn how to turn it into reality, is my reply to him.

It is the only true thanks we can give for the last eighty years relative order.

It is the honourable thing to do for the next eighty years.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,

we will remember them.

Good morning
John Bittleston

7 June 2024