Monday, June 6, 2011

Does anyone remember D-Day?

There's a significant anniversary to commemorate today, though you might have to search a while to find any mention of it in cyberspace.

It was 67 years ago, on June 6, 1944, that the D-Day landings took place on the beaches of Normandy in Northern France in World War II. The first step in Eisenhower's "great crusade" was, and remains, the greatest amphibious assault in history. More than 160,000 troops landed via 5,000 naval vessels of all kinds. The U.S. suffered 6,000 casualties, with nearly 2,500 killed.

It's hard to believe, but it has been 10 years since Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and HBO teamed up to produce the Emmy Award-winning series Band of Brothers, which came three years after Spielberg and Hanks brought us the seminal film Saving Private Ryan.

At the time, Speilberg and Hanks both noted the importance of such undertakings as a tribute to the dwindling numbers of "The Greatest Generation," and the urgency of the projects because 1,000 World War II veterans were dying every day.

In the past couple of years alone, several of the most notable figures in Band of Brothers passed away, including its humble leader, Maj. Dick Winters. Many others have passed since the show was originally aired.

Today, a group of 40 D-Day veterans gathered on Normandy Beach to rededicate the monument to the U.S. Rangers who scaled the Pointe-du-hoc cliffs to take out the German guns there. I found that item on, which also featured a link to a story about two Normandy veterans recounting their harrowing experiences of that iconic day in history.

CBS News stands virtually alone in that regard, for among major internet news outlets, the remembrances are few.

As of this morning, I Googled "D-Day" under "news" and found 277 links, most of them to newspaper sites that published similar stories to the ones above. But a quick look around the Wed shows that D-Day has been all but forgotten:

* On Yahoo!, D-Day was not among the 20 "pictured" stories on the home page, and was not mentioned among the top 10 trending stories. Mark Wahlberg and Reese Witherspoon were.

* On CNN, which prides itself on its news coverage, D-Day had no presence, but John Edwards and Casey Anthony did (as of this afternoon, CNN had posted a link to "Remembering D-Day.")

* ABC News had nothing, but did have items on Justin Timberlake and Pippa Middleton.

* NBC News had no mention either. FOX News, which does air a weekly documentary that features World War II, missed D-Day too, but did post a video on "Tim Tebow on temptation."

I understand times have changed, and there are events in the world unfolding that affect us greatly. The visions of World War II have largely faded to sepia, with fewer and fewer people alive each day that lived through it. But I would at least expect that in today's 24-hour news cycle, there would be time and space to devote to such a profound event.

Enjoy "Dancing with the Stars" and keep up with the Kardashians. But take a moment to read about and remember D-Day. If you can find anything on the internet about it, that is.

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