I generally pay no attention to 70th anniversary observances, saving up my energies for the 75-year “diamond jubilee” milestones.
I am making an exception for June 6, the 70th anniversary of D-Day. To put it bluntly, five years could make a lot of difference.
According to recent Veterans Administration statistics, of the 16 million Americans who served during World War II, only slightly more than one million remain alive, and they are dying at the rate of 555 a day.
I want to be able to say thanks before another 200,000 vets pass from the scene.
The tyranny-thwarting teamwork, bravery and sacrifice of the Greatest Generation (both in the military and on the homefront) was remarkable. They were the right people for the right time.
Of course my friend Dinsdale had to raise a lot of impertinent questions, and speculate on how D-Day and the war as a whole could have turned out differently if the military had to deal with the distractions, personalities and social trends of today.
For instance, could secrecy have been maintained if the “Loose lips sink ships” slogan had been replaced with “Loose lips need botox”?
What if the forces that landed at Normandy had to take into consideration not only the full moon, weather conditions and the location of German troops, but also the scheduling of “Downton Abbey”?
Could the Allied forces really have pushed on to Berlin if they had to stop at each village and explain, “No, this is really a conquering force. We are not a flash mob”?
Would music from back home have been as inspiring if it consisted of ditties such as “Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree — That Thing Is Genetically Modified”?
Would the fighting forces have been too mellow if the familiar “Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em” had been replaced with “Smoke ‘em if the feds don’t block your access to the dispensary, dude”?