93-year-old Thomas Blakey is one of the paratroopers who was dropped behind enemy lines and tasked with taking a bridge from German forces in a battle that was later dramatized in Saving Private Ryan.
In this fascinating interview, Blakey recounts the battle from 70 years ago as if it happened yesterday. He also describes how coming to the National World War II Museum 14 years ago helped him finally move on from war images that haunted him for decades…
American Jim “Pee Wee” Martin was a 23-year-old paratrooper when he was dropped behind enemy lines on June 6, 1944. Reflecting on that experience, he says,
Everybody’s scared all the time. Anybody who tells you he isn’t is full of crap. But you just do what you have to do regardless of it, that’s the difference.
70 years later, he returned to Normandy to reconnect with other nonagenarians who fought alongside him and revisit the ground where he’d made history.
But Martin wasn’t content to stay on the ground. The humble veteran who’s embarrassed by the adulation people have showered on him returned to the air, donning a jumpsuit and taking one last jump from a plane.
When asked why he did it, Martin said,
A little bit of ego because I’m 93 and I can still do it. And also I just wanted to show all the people that you don’t have to sit and die just because you get old.
CNN met up with this fascinating man and filmed his jump for this brief segment that’s well worth your time…
Plans for the 1944 Normandy landings began in 1943. Over the course of that year of preparation, much thought certainly went into all the different possible outcomes, but it wasn’t until the day before the largest seaborne invasion in history, that General Eisenhower took a moment to jot down what he would say if, despite everything, it all failed.
At the end of the scrawled, 66-word, hypothetical speech, he holds himself accountable for the horrors that the use of this paper would have meant…
If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.
(A complete transcription is below.)
The speech reads…
Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone. [By mistake, he dated the speech July 5 rather than June 5.]
We can be grateful that this note is an obscure piece in the national archives and does not represent a moment that ever actually took place.
June 6, 1944, marked a turning point in World War II as Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, forcing the end of the German occupation of France.
To mark this Friday’s 70th anniversary of D-Day, Reuters photographer Chris Helgren compiled a number of photos from that fateful day and took his own photographs from the exact same locations.
It’s sobering to compare the heavy events of that day 70 years ago with the casual vacationers relaxing there today, enjoying a lifestyle that’s enabled by those who sacrificed their lives on the same land…
Finally. An honest trailer for Top Gun…
Joseph Robertson died in 2009 at the age of 90. Several years earlier, he recorded the story of what he called the saddest moment of his life, a moment from the 40′s which stayed with him for the rest of his life…
Thomas driver fought in World War II from 1943 to 1945. Recently, his grandson found recordings of him talking about his experience.
One of his stories was about two different rodents he came into contact with in different ways as he stood guard in a foxhole through the night.
His grandson made this little film out of his granddad’s lighthearted but eerie memory…
Man finds early 20th-century shop in condemned building, restores it with original merchandise [23 pics]
Redditor ArtfulAusten‘s dad bought an old, condemned property an hour north of Philadelphia from a friend and set about restoring it to livable condition. The building contained a general store that had operated for about thirty years in the first half of the 20th century.
As the new owner, Austen’s dad decided to restore the facility to its original condition…
Austen said about the project,
When my dad starts a project, he does it full-out. So he made sure that everything inside the museum is “new-old” stock, as he likes to call it, which means that they are not reproductions of any kind and (for this project) are all dated between the years 1929 to 1939.
Everything inside the museum theoretically could have been sold at the store. He even included all the same brand names that the original store had once carried. The celling is made from pressed tin and hand painted (by me), the floor is painted instead of stained (like the original), the colors he used were all from swatches that he found in the room, and the counters and shelves are all in their original places.
My dad has an insane ability to pay attention to detail.
Unfortunately, the meticulously-restored store isn’t open to the public, so these remarkable photos will have to suffice for now…
Led Zeppelin is being accused of plagiarism again and this time it’s another official lawsuit instead of just accusations in barroom conversations between armchair music historians while the jukebox plays.
The claims are nothing new — People have noted the similarities between Jimmy Page’s riff at the beginning of “Stairway to Heaven” and Spirit’s “Taurus” ever since “Stairway” was released in 1971…
Spirit’s “Taurus” was written in 1967 and released the next year. Then Led Zeppelin opened for Spirit the year after that on their first American tour. They were certainly familiar with Spirit’s repertoire, even including a cover of one Spirit song in their set.
So when “Stairway” was released in 1971, there was little doubt in the minds of the members of Spirit that they’d been ripped off. In 1997, the year he died, Randy California, who wrote “Taurus,” said,
Beginning in the 1920′s and going all the way through the 60′s, chiropractors across the U.S. held beauty contests that judged not only contestants’ appearance but the straightness of her spine and her overall posture as well. The winners were proclaimed “Miss Correct Posture.”
The contests were a way to get some good PR during a time when chiropractic medicine was heavily resisted by the mainstream medical community and thousands of chiropractors were being prosecuted for practicing medicine without a license. The political fight to get separate licensing for chiropractors had its first success in Kansas in 1913 and lasted all the until 1974 when Louisiana finally gave in.
During most if this period and peaking in the 50′s, chiropractor beauty contests were a simple, non-confrontational way to get the word out about chiropractics and to make the practice seem both legit and healthful.
Here are some photos from the contest held at a national convention of chiropractors in Chicago in 1956…