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I REMEMBER D-DAY AS A CHILD DURING MY FIRST SEMESTER IN FIRST GRADE
John W. Spring
Due to my health, I was unable to write about D-Day as a child during my first semester in First Grade. At that time, we lived in Los Angeles where I attended Queen Anne Place Elementary School. Although it would probably not be considered as being “politically correct” when our teacher, Mrs. Goodman, showed us a silent film in color of a dramatization on the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, she did. But it was not until after a paper drive held at the school that we had the funds to purchase a brand new Victor motion picture projector with sound, which enabled us to see and hear the landing at Normandy on D-Day in color. Later, some of us were able to similar footage for a special news reel release at the Forum Theatre.
As a youngster who had just turned five years about three months before D-Day, I was aware we were at war. During the previous year when in Kindergarten, I missed a day of school to go and see General Doolittle and General Paton at a parade on Broadway. Being near Hollywood, I had never heard such loud cheers of admiration during my entire life. We even saw a captured V-1 “buzz-bomb” intact. Yes, we were definitely aware of the Second World War.
Due to so many beach landings, later I learned the U.S. Coast Guard had the highest fatalities on a per capita basis of any military branch. More recently, I became aware of a U.S. Navy cruiser that maneuvered very close to shore to fire upon the German fortresses that were killing so many American soldiers.
As for what I now know, D-Day was probably one of the worst strategies in military history.
Meanwhile, back in America, rationing was then being lifted on so many consumer products that had been in storage or just being manufactured. We were so over confident of our victories in Europe that so many civilians had neglected to realize the danger from Japan.
One early morning before sunrise, when we were on “double daylight savings time, while still waiting for breakfast, I saw a Japanese aerial reconnaissance plane flying northward from San Pedro over Los Angeles with just enough light for infra-red film. That airplane was probably in the process of photographing aircraft manufacturing plants as key targets for a planned bombing from Japan of an Atomic Bomb because the U.S. was then not the only nation that had developed a nuclear weapon. Although such information still remains censored even today, Japan came so close to deploying their own Atomic Bomb over Los Angeles.
D-Day was just part of a much wider scope of World War II. JWS
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