Readers React: D-day, as readers remember it

A film still from the D-Day landings shows commandos aboard a landing craft on their approach to Sword Beach on June 6, 1944.
(IWM / Getty Images)

As firsthand accounts of D-day become increasingly rare with time, The Times is lucky to count among its readers many who recall June 6, 1944, in vivid detail. Some who weren’t alive then wrote to share how that day nonetheless touched their families.

Here are their letters.

West Hills resident Craig Carr is grateful to Allied troops for liberating his family in Berlin:

I stand in salute of the warriors of Normandy and their sacrifices that marked the beginning of the end for the nightmare caused by Adolf Hitler. Within a year of their invasion, Europe — including the German public — would be liberated.


In Berlin, where my mother lived, civilians were hanged from street lamps as the Allies approached. My own mother was sentenced to death in the last 10 weeks of the war.

The Allied soldiers’ courage would expose Hitler’s concentration camps. We owe a debt of gratitude to them all that can never be fully repaid.

Sol Taylor of Studio City recalls a D-day radio broadcast:

On the evening of June 5, 1944, my friends and I in Brooklyn listened to the radio speech by FDR announcing the liberation of Rome. Little did we know that he knew what was happening in the English Channel at that very moment: early operations in what would forever be known as D-day.

The next morning, in the auditorium of my elementary school, we listened quietly to the stage radio as the invasion of Europe was underway. Many cried. One of my classmate’s brothers was killed in Europe that day. Others who had friends and relatives there dreaded the news.

None of us who experienced that day has forgotten June 6, 1944.

Pasadena resident Laurence H. Pretty shares members of his childhood in Britain:

I was an 8-year-old boy living in a house on a country lane close to the English south coast and close to where young recruits were training for war.

For months before June 6, 1944, we watched soldiers on grueling training runs along the lane. Often from an upstairs window, we watched them in combat training maneuvers in the fields behind our house.

What stays in my mind 70 years later is how young they were; most were painfully thin and white as sheets. Most looked like city boys unfamiliar with the countryside. Yet when June 6 came, these brave young men went courageously to war.

The Times’ article on Thursday on the few remaining veterans of D-day brought back vivid memories of the most heroic men I ever saw.

Don Sonderling of Woodland Hills faults The Times for not properly memorializing the invasion:

Shame on The Times for not publishing anything about D-day on its Friday front page. The freedom of the press was paid for with blood in Normandy that day; it’s too bad The Times couldn’t show more respect.

Our history is being lost, ignored, buried and trivialized.