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Paul Turner: On your calendar or not, D-Day worth remembering

FILE – An American soldier wades through water under heavy artillery and machine-gun fire to reach the beach on the Normandy coast of France, June 6, 1944. It turned out to be the biggest and most important Allied amphibious operation of World War II. (ROBERT CAPA / Associated Press)
FILE – An American soldier wades through water under heavy artillery and machine-gun fire to reach the beach on the Normandy coast of France, June 6, 1944. It turned out to be the biggest and most important Allied amphibious operation of World War II. (ROBERT CAPA / Associated Press)

I can’t remember exactly when D-Day started to disappear from calendars.

Maybe the late 1960s or early 1970s.

I know it was there in the mid-’60s. I have vague recollections of conversations sparked by the turn-the-tide Normandy landings noted in the calendar square for June 6.

Kid 1: “What’s D-Day?”

Kid 2: “The first day of the liberation of Europe in 1944, the beginning of the end for the Nazis, you idiot.”

I asked my lawyer friend Scott Miller to back me up on this. D-Day used to be on calendars, didn’t it?

It did. He’s not thrilled to see it fade away.

“My father and my father-in-law were both in B-17s,” he said. “Dad was in England and Howard was in North Africa. They both had amazing, hair-raising stories, but it was really hard to get them to talk about their experiences. I guess I understand. Yes, life moves on, but sometimes it seems that we forget to learn the hard lessons that should be remembered beyond one or two generations.”

Perhaps our preoccupation with Vietnam and the social unrest gripping America eventually pushed D-Day awareness to the side.

Or maybe that’s just the way things go in the course of time. You don’t find the Battle of Gettysburg on wall calendars either. It will happen to 9/11.

Certain older readers can still be relied upon to call the newspaper if they feel D-Day has been overlooked or given short shrift in the S-R.

The numbers of those who were alive during World War II are dwindling. The ranks of those who took part in the harrowing beach landings on the coast of France have grown thin.

That does not mean the rest of us have forgotten June 6. Well, not all of us.

When I look at the hanging calendar displayed by my desk here at the newspaper, the square for June 6 is empty, unlike, say, June 14 (Flag Day) or June 17 (Father’s Day).

That’s OK. The courage of the young men who waded ashore that morning honors this date forever, in a way no calendar notation ever could.

A mouthful of summer

Nancy Kiehn saw Tuesday’s column and shared this.

“About yellow jackets, my husband, Marc, had an encounter a few years back.

“Grilling hamburgers on the deck while sipping his beer, he didn’t see the yellow jacket fly into the narrow bottle neck. At the next sip, he felt something wasn’t quite right, but it was too late.

“He spent the evening with ice on his mouth, and his upper lip looked like a botched lip job. We should have been more sympathetic, but in between muffled laughter, we nicknamed him Angelina.”

Additional feedback

Heard from a condiments-loving reader who rates sandwiches as, say, a “four napkin” sandwich or a “seven napkin” sandwich.

I wonder what you would call it if you needed a whole roll of paper towels.

By the way, this is not to be confused with the sandwich issue I addressed a few years ago after hearing from a Deer Park couple who disagreed about the proper ingredients-stack sequencing protocols when building a hearty, gooey sandwich.

Just wondering

Let’s say you think the National Football League’s policy on sideline protests amounts to pandering to its white, conservative base with a reactionary appeal to fake patriotism. (Never mind that an overwhelming percentage of NFL players are black.) You can express your displeasure by simply not paying any more attention to the NFL or its sponsors.

Simple, right?

But suppose you live somewhere where voters consistently support candidates and public policy positions you abhor. You can always stand and fight, advocating your own views. But has anyone around here ever actually packed up and moved for precisely that reason?

Reasons to fire people

Longtime readers might recall back when, years ago, I used to go on occasional rants about employees who hog prime parking lot spaces that might otherwise have been used by customers.

That drove me crazy. Still does.

But a friend, Ken, called Tuesday and mentioned being at ArtFest. He spoke of passing booth after booth and not having those staffing them look up from their electronic devices and make might-lead-to-a-sale eye contact.

Of course, many of those are undoubtedly one-person operations. So I guess they would have to fire themselves.