On June 8 of this year my parents would have been celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary.
They met at Wicksteed Park in March 1944 and married just a few months later while dad was on embarkation leave from the RAF.
“Well, there was a war on,” they told us.
Their anniversary, combined with all the coverage on the television of the D-Day 70th anniversary, compelled me to watch the broadcasts, whereby our elderly Normandy veterans assembled, for the last time, to remember and reflect on how they made such an impact and made so many sacrifices to ensure the liberation of France and alter the course of the Second World War itself.
On speaking with friends, who also watched the televised programmes, we all found the many accounts of heroism and loss extremely moving.
And we also realised how quickly the veterans have aged and how important it is that we should do all we can to keep alive these stories for future generations.
Years ago, my friend and I took a school party to Arromanche.
I remember walking down one of the streets that soldiers would have marched along to liberate the town, unable to really comprehend the true cost of the military operations, but feeling humbled and so grateful for the sacrifices made for our freedom.
We could not possibly imagine what it was really like. Although mum and dad were not directly involved with the activities of D-Day (mum was a telephonist with the GPO and may have taken many soldiers’ calls), neither of them spoke too much about such life-changing events.
They both experienced losses during the war – perhaps this was why.
I know, for sure, that my family and I are so proud of the part they both played and, as with the Normandy veterans, ‘We WILL remember them’.