I was lucky enough to spend some time with some members of the Normandy Veterans Association during the 49th Anniversary in 1993 and I can honestly say that I am proud to have assisted and to have associated with them. Great fellas, healthy drinkers the ones I was with, such strong characters.
I was also incredibly lucky to have shook the hand of Major John Howard, the chap who led 6th Airborne's raid on Pegasus Bridge - although the circumstance in which I met him was comical.
Another well-known character I met was Lord Lovat's Piper, Bill Millan - Lovat Being the Commanding Officer of the Commando unit which raced through Oustreham and linked up with 6th Airborne holding Pegasus Bridge.
One fella I was with called him a "nutty ba5tard" and another replied "he had to be, to play the pipes while everyone else was busy ducking bullets!" Brilliant!
Everywhere I went with them, the veterans were given drinks on the house and had so many French people come up to them and shake their hands. I even had a Dutch fella who grabbed me by the hand and said: "I want to thank you for your fathers, your grandfathers, your uncles, for saving my country". Made me feel very proud to be English/British.
The irony is I had an uncle who died as a British soldier in North Africa in 1941, and a Ukranian uncle who fought in the German Rhine Army from late 1944.
I could add loads more about my experience of being with the Veterans....but would just like to say...
If you haven't already done so, please spare a thought for those who fought for Britain in WWII - before D-Day and after.
The post-war world might be an imperfect place, but the alternative History thankfully didn't happen to us because of them.
Like it says: They gave their Tomorrow for our Today.
Remember the Greatest Generation of Men and Women this country has produced.