A D-Day Musical and Literary Tribute

Yesterday was the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the day that changed history. The Allies sent soldiers in a massive assault against the Germans. Thousands went into battle. Thousands died, thousands were injured. We honor this day and remember those who fought and those who died. There is little new to be said, but we mustn’t forget the men and women who sacrificed to stop the fascists. This musical and literary tribute for D-Day is a small attempt to honor those whose lives were forever changed because of World War II.

Photograph shot looking out of the boat with soldiers wading to the Normandy shore. A musical and literary tribute for D-Day
By Chief Photographer’s Mate (CPHoM) Robert F. Sargent – Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17040973

“I’ll Be Seeing You”

Billie Holiday, 1938

Billie Holliday sang this soulful song in 1938. In the lyrics she tells her love she will see him everywhere she looks (even though he’s gone away). It became the farewell anthem for soldiers and has been sung by many others.

The Diary of a Young Girl

Anne Frank © 1947

German-born and Jewish, Anne Frank got a diary for her thirteenth birthday. A short while later, she and her family went into hiding. Her diary shares details of her daily life, her wishes, and her desires until the Nazis captured her and her family. She died in a concentration camp at the age of fifteen. Her father, the family’s only survivor, published parts of her diary in her memory. 

The honest, raw story is a study of optimism in dire circumstances. 


“We’ll Meet Again”

The D-Day Darlings, 2018

The British song, “We’ll Meet Again,” originally sung by Vera Lynn in 1939 became quite popular. This recent rendition revives the song of hope.

The Flowers of Hiroshima

Edita Morris © 1959

This tender story of Hiroshima illustrates the horrors and the aftermath of the atomic bomb. This story will haunt you.


The Shawl

Cynthia Ozick ©1977

The Shawl is a powerful story of the devastating physical, psychological, and emotional scars suffered at the hands of the Nazis. Its imagery and characters will stay with you for a very long time.


The Shores of Normandy

Jim Radford, 2019

Sung by a veteran of Normandy this song expresses his memories in an effort to support the British Normandy Memorial. Its lyrics have touched millions and reached the top of the charts.

There have been hundreds of songs and thousands of stories written about or in reaction to the war. Read about another way to learn stories about the war in my post Remembering: Veterans History Project (not just WWII or D-day but all wars).

This musical and literary tribute for D-Day is small but heartfelt. The songs and stories have earned a spot in my heart and I hope you will sample them. Please add your favorite musical or literary D-Day or WW2 tribute in the comments. 

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