Friday, June 7, 2019

D-Day +75 Years-- Part 2: Thank Goodness for the Oral Histories

Seventy-five years have passed and the ranks of men have thinned even more than they did that day.  They braved machine gun, rifle and cannon fire on the French beaches that were marked on the American maps:  Omaha and Utah.

Fayette Richardson died in 2010, but fortunately for us and future generations, he and other veterans kept diaries, wrote memoirs or recorded their memories.

Oral history as a study was in its infancy when Stephen Ambrose began tape recording D-Day veterans according to Toni Kiser, assistant director for collections management at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

Kiser told the Tribune:  "Ambrose, who began collecting the oral histories housed in our archives, was a distinguished historian.  He recognized that official accounts couldn't capture the subtleties of a historic event like D-Day.  They are bound to reflect the generals' perspective.  He wanted to know how it looked to the GIs, who were on the beaches or dropped by parachute.  What was it like to see a buddy you have trained with for months get killed minutes after they rushed out of a landing craft?"

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