Letter to the Editor

Take the time to watch upcoming D-Day film on June 6

Friday, May 30, 2014

Dear Editor:

I do not think I have openly wept since the loss of my mother... until tonight. Ozark Public Television aired a wonderful show detailing the invasion of France on June 6, 1944. Ken Burns' film "The Necessary War" is, to me, the definitive documentary on World War II. This is an equally impressive documentary on the invasion. They took veterans to the beaches and let them dive in modern submarines to visit the wrecks of the actual ships shot or mined from underneath them.

As I watched the footage, looking for the LST510, the ship my father sailed, I could only grasp a small sense of the overwhelming tension in the air as these thousands of men prepared for the assault. His ship was nearly sunk in the convoy to England after hitting the debris from another LST torpedoed by a U-boat. They motored into England, dry-docked for repair and made it to the invasion right on schedule.

The LST513, which had also landed on D-Day, was making her fourth trip in, delivering troops and receiving wounded, dead, and prisoners, when it hit a mine and sank. The producers of this documentary found a veteran from her and brought him, his wife and some offspring to the site and took him down in a submarine to view his ship. If I recall correctly, only 31 of the 170 men on-board survived.

At the American cemetery overlooking the beach, his wife helped him find his commanding officer's grave. This near 90-year-old veteran who was all of 19 on D-Day, like a child in the arms of his mother, wept in the arms of his wife.

I know the patriots who defeated the British secured our freedom and the soldiers of the Civil War preserved our Union, but this generation saved the world, literally. Hitler's war had killed more than 27 million people, including the 6 million in the concentration camps. He was only getting started.

I hope you will try to watch this program if you are able. Whether you are a history buff or not, I hope you will pause when you see the Stars and Stripes, if only for a few seconds, on June 6th and reflect on those sacrifices made.

Greg Kepler