|Posted: 07 June 2006 at 11:36am | IP Logged
Mike, my wife and I were at Harrod's on June 2nd 2004 and I had a a very memorable experience (as a veteran) in the basement lounge on that day. I was in the company of about ten Allied veterans from WWII, who were on their way to the 60th memorial services in Normandy on 6/6/04. They like myself were tired of shopping at Harrod's with our wives and we all wound up in the lounge.
These veterans in their 80's wore unit Berets, medals and some the entire uniform. I had tears in my eyes watching them salute, shake hands and hug each other even though they never met in person before. I am still in awe of what I saw and heard in a most improbable setting. I managed to shake hands and thank them (Americans and Uk alike) for their sacrifices 60 years before.
We left London for the Isle of Jersey the next day and I watched with great interest on the BBC their coverage of D day. I listened to many a veteran describe in detail the time they spent at Normandy. I particulary enjoyed the exploits of the glider pilots.
We were going to take the ferry from Jersey to Normandy but we were advised that once we got to France the trip to the beaches were clogged with literally thousands of people trying to get there.
We returned to London on the 6th and I watched the Normandy proceedings on the BBC. I saw a particularly upsetting thing that our president G.W.Bush did after he and the president of France finished their remarks. President Bush stepped into the crowd of dignitary's to shake hands and walked right pass a veteran wearing the Medal of Honor. I do not know what the protocol is in that situation but I think the president dropped the ball on that one. I wonder how many veterans like myself saw that particular snub.
On another note on June 4th of this year my wife and I were on a tour of Italy and the tour director took us to the American Cemetary and Memorial just south of Florence where nearly 5000 American veterans from WWII are buried. It is a fitting tribute and resting place for our veterans. Once again I was reminded of the sacrifices these veterans from the "Greatest Generation" made for us. You can find the Florence Memorial at www.abmc.gov .
Thanks Mike for the posting on the real significance of 6/6/06 and above all thanks to all veterans.
John (aka) Shine KW and me