As I listened to the D-Day celebrations today one word seemed to be coming up with depressing monotony, the word luck. They nearly all seem to think they were simply lucky to survive. Look at these examples
- “I’m glad I’m here. Because I’m lucky to be here,” William Roberts said. He will celebrate his 102nd birthday next month.
- Fred Morgan says he only survived because of "luck", telling us "I did get sprayed with shrapnel a couple times but not serious enough to evacuate me."
- D-day veterans each have unique stories to tell. Each feels lucky to have survived. They are thankful for the recognition given them Friday. Harry Evans “I had a lot of luck, there was no doubt about it,” he said. “I do appreciate that now. Times like these trigger your memories, but at the time there were so many people killed, all that was in your mind was getting through.” Harry, who later married Maud and had two sons, Graham and Peter, made a return trip to Normandy on his 80th birthday to show his family where he had fought. Today the former Co-op manager will remember his comrades privately at home in Kingsfield Care Centre, Ashton.
- Edgar Bedard "I was one of the lucky ones," he said of his wartime service.
- "All my friends are dead now,” says Mr. Jock Hutton. “We would go to gatherings together but now I’m on my own. But I’m happy. I’ve been lucky. I’ve had a different life.”
- "I was lucky," said Frank Agoglia, a retired NYPD detective, recalling his D-Day crash. "I'm fortunate to be here today. I know that."
- One British veteran, 89-year-old Ken Godfrey, was applauded by well-wishers who shouted “bravo” and “thank you” as, medals clinking on his chest, he walked the mile-long path to Bayeux cemetery. “My main memory is wading through the sea with water up to my chest,” he said. “But I don’t like to talk about the fighting. If people ask, I just say we had a hairy time. But I’m lucky that I survived.”
And then with a little search I found something more like it from American Henry Langreher. "They say there are no atheists in foxholes, but I was one," he said. "But my wife prayed for me, and I came to know God, and ever since then I've tried to please him." Langrehr was awarded two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts for his service. In Washington, D.C., in 2007, he and six others received the Legion of Honor, France's highest award, for their roles in liberating France from the Nazis. "Henry Langrehr, you are a hero," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said as he pinned a medal to Langrehr's lapel. Langrehr brushes off that label. "Not a day goes by but that I don't think of my friends killed in France," he said. "I'm not a hero. They are, because they gave their lives. I don't know why, but God spared me, and I'm grateful for every day."