D-Day+80. Lest we forget.

For the 80th anniversary of D-Day, I am reposting what I wrote five years ago on the 75th, which itself reprised my coverage of the 50th anniversary  for The Washington Post and a subsequent solemn visit my wife Sandy and I made to the site in July 2009.  At a time when democracy is threatened both at home and abroad, it’s important to recall a time when Allied forces fought back and ultimately triumphed over the evils of hate and the Holocaust perpetrated by an authoritarian regime that sought to rule the world.  But, lest we forget, the fight for freedom must be won over and over again. 

In 1994, I had the honor and privilege of telling the story of the D-Day landing through the voices of veterans, then mostly in their seventies. Years later, in July 2009., Sandy and I visited Omaha Beach — now a public family vacation spot —  and the American cemetery, with its countless rows of crosses and Stars of David. There was absolute silence, befitting this mass graveyard of thousands of young men who died on the beach below us. We solemnly placed stones on the graves of the Jewish soldiers and also thought sadly of the rest marked by crosses.  They were all so young. Sandy remarked that many were born the same year as her father, 1921.

On this, the 75th anniversary of that fateful landing, I’m offering the text of the Washington Post story I wrote (and some photos I took in 2009).  Long before “Saving Private Ryan,” it brought home to me the horror, tragedy and bravery of that day. I hope it does for you, too.

“They Survived a Beach Called Omaha,” which ran in the Washington Post on May 30, 1994.

Here’s the text:

They are old men now, in their seventies and eighties, living in retirement in comfortable neighborhoods in the Washington area, but forever linked by a beach called Omaha.


  1. Emily Levenson on June 5, 2024 at 12:02 pm

    Lovely…thank you for sharing. Never forget the past!

  2. Steve Fehr on June 6, 2024 at 11:08 am

    If you wrote the same piece today you would be asked to find people who do not live in the Washington area to give their accounts. The Post is now an international publication with little use for the thousands of readers living in the DC area. It meant so much to me reading this piece again that the story was told by “neighbors.” I know where they lived in 1994. Maybe our paths had crossed. One was 72, my age next year. It haunts me to think these guys are all dead now. You brought them back to life. In my LOCAL newspaper.
    It haunts me

    • Steve Fehr on June 6, 2024 at 11:11 am

      “It haunts me” should be deleted.

    • Eugene Meyer on June 6, 2024 at 3:08 pm

      Not sure I can edit your post. But it haunts me, too.

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