US Army Pvt. Elliot West, 1944
Today is the 69th anniversary of D-Day.
Sixty-nine years ago, my 20-year-old father was two days away from walking ashore onto the hard-won beaches of Normandy, a member of the 102nd Calvary Reconnaissance Squadron in Gen. Omar Bradley's 2nd Army. Pvt. Elliot West's shooting war would begin a little later at the Battle of St Lo.
It seems right to flag the day once again, to pay homage to the heroes of Normandy even as the ranks dwindle to a scattered few -- and even as my own doubts have arisen as to the motives and gullibility of some of their leaders in ordering these marvelous young men into an epic battle that, for reasons laid out and mulled and questioned in American Betrayal, may not have been necessary to defeat Nazi Germany.