Virginia War Memorial, D-Day, and Six History Shows Recap

Hello Readers, 

Today, June 6th, is a special date from WWII because this is when “Operation Overlord” began, which is also known as D-Day.

Quick D-Day overview from

“Eisenhower selected June 5, 1944, as the date for the invasion; however, bad weather on the days leading up to the operation caused it to be delayed for 24 hours.

On D-day, June 6th, 1944 “156,000 American, British, and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region. The invasion was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history and required extensive planning. Prior to D-Day, the Allies conducted a large-scale deception campaign designed to mislead the Germans about the intended invasion target. By late August 1944, all of northern France had been liberated, and by the following spring (1945) the Allies had defeated the Germans. The Normandy landings have been called the beginning of the end of war in Europe.” 

This spring, here at the Priorhouse, we have enjoyed some WWII documentaries and movies. I will share some quick reviews at the end of this post.

 I wanted to explore more of the WWII dates for my own general understanding – like how WWI – then the inter-war years – contributed to WWII. And perhaps more about how the Cold War, Korean War, and Vietnam War followed. One of the things that spurred this “history viewing” was earlier this year I was caught off guard with some WWII dates.  I loosely had my WWII dates down, but someone was trying to say that WWII ended in 1948.  It was an “aside convo” that came up while we were busy taking care of a project so I did not debate the topic – but I knew I was going to research and check facts.  FYI – here are the dates (and I was right, the war ended in ’45 and not sure why he said ’48)wwii dates

Virginia War Memorial

Now – the Photos for today’s post – images from the War Memorial in Richmond, Virginia (here)

I have driven by this Memorial for years and finally had the chance to visit in early spring. 

doors- war mem va 2021 front of memorial

doors- war mem va 2021 names

doors war mem VA flags - blue sky never forget

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I originally planned on sharing this post for a Thursday Doors post, which is why I grabbed some details of the handles.

doors- war mem va 2021 handles

There are so many little areas to explore at the Virginia War Memorial. The yellow-rose garden offered a nice place for reflection.

doors war mem VA freedom yellow roses

This next photo is my favorite photo from our visit that sunny afternoon.

I was appreciating freedom, feeling grateful to those that have fought to protect the freedom we enjoy today.  Then, I looked up and saw this graduate having an informal photo shoot. So many thoughts came my way as I watched this African-American young lady take photos with her cap and gown. It was promising and left the essence of progress and hope.

doors war mem VA graduate photo shoot hope

History Shows Recap

Here are six history movies/series we watched so far this year:

  1. WWII in Color (2009) (here) history show the ww 2 in color 2020This series was informative and had great retouched, color footage, but some episodes were dull. It felt like grade-school history class videos. Yawn. We did not get through all episodes. 
  2. Greatest Events of WWII in Color (2019) (here) history show greatest events of WWII 2020This series was excellent and might be my favorite WWII series so far. Each episode had engaging flow to let us move with the action. The enriched old video footage was integrated with images and had good pacing (I guess that faster pacing – compared to the 2009 series- shows that today we prefer a quicker pace). The narrating, editing, and storytelling was gripping. My favorite episodes were Battle of Midway (Captain Rochefort was part of the team that decoded Japan’s messages and helped highlight that Midway was the target that was going to be attacked. Rochefort is an unsung hero and his combination of skills and training intreated to decode the messages – I guess he would wear his slippers and a smoking jacket as he listened to messages – he also lived in Japan and so he had insight about the culture and terms used). —  Another highlight for the Greatest Events of WWII series was learning details about Blitzkrieg (all the drugs that Nazi soldiers used to attack over a three-day “blitz” period made you wonder more about Hitler’s sedated state as the war went on). 
  3. The 12th Man (2017) (here) is a slow moving  film – but it had excellent acting and setting details. This Norwegian history drama allows us to follow Jan Baalsrud, the 12th man who was on the run after the other 11 members of his group were captured by Nazis in 1943. history show the 12th man 2020The frigid, snowy setting was felt and the effective acting was appreciated. The screenwriters reversed the reveal of the story and near the end of the movie we learn more about how Jan ended up on the run. In my view, it was much too late to give us details about how he encountered the enemy and escaped Nazi capture. It was like someone was telling a story in a monotone voice and you fell asleep before they got to the exciting part. 
  4. We Go in at Dawn (2020) (here) is a movie that depicts the true story of soldier John Seabourne (maybe he was a real-life Jason Bourne kind of human weapon?) and Ellie Belrose (a French resistance fighter) as they planned a covert operation to rescue Victor Lawrence (a high-ranking captured soldier who knew the plans about D-Day and revealing this could have impaired the surprise attack). The acting was SO bad in this movie. Or was it the writing? I think it was both. history show we go in at dawn 2020This was painful to watch at times (really). However, the high-tech camera and video clarity provided some tasty visuals – like the old typewriter keys moving at the beginning and the bright red on the fabric. Maybe the video quality was appreciated after watching series with old WWII footage. Either way, the shoddy writing for this story and the viscous flow with below-average acting was dreadful; it reminded me of a few other shows that had below average acting (i.e The Americans’ lead actress, Homecoming with Roberts not at her best, etc.). Also, it was not plausible that Victor really opened the door and in a Terminator-like fashion declared, “I AM…. Victor Lawrence”  – Sigh.
  5. The Liberator (2020) (here) caught my attention because it was narrated by Mike Rowe (we met him in Short Pump a few years ago) and the screenplay was written by Jeb Stuart (not sure if it is the same Jeb, but in 2003 I had a student with that name so I was curious).history show the liberator 2020 In four episodes, The Liberator uses a comic/cartoon filter to depict the story of Captain (and then Major) Felix Sparks and the Thunderbirds, a group of diverse soldiers, who were somewhat misfits. The episodes chronicle their battles moving through Italy into Nazi-occupied Europe. The first episode was rather b-flat and I was not going to return to watch the rest. However, I showed my spouse the show and we decided to watch episode two and it looped us in and we finished the series. The real-life details at the end added a nice touch. I am not sure how much we like the comic/cartoon filter they use for movies and shows, but in The Liberator the filter had a modern freshness that many folks might appreciate – maybe even younger folks, which could help them explore more history. So many people need to stir up appreciation for what they have during this time of wealth and prosperity. 
  6. The Ghost Army (2013) (here) tells the story of ghost army snippetsthe 23rd Headquarters Special Troops (January 1944). I LOVED this film. The Ghost Army was the first mobile, multimedia, tactical deception unit. They pooled together engineers, soldiers, officers, draftees, and artists, which included “fashion designer Bill Blass, fine painter Ellsworth Kelly, and photographer Art Kane.” The 23rd had more than 20 large-scale deceptions where this creative team helped divert enemy soldiers – including helping with D-Day. The movie gave us interviews with the artists as they shared staging details, clever ideas, trickery, and showed artist sketches. We also had some raw war footage from various locations. The Ghost Army details remained classified until the 1980s and this 2013 movie left us wanting to watch more about their operations and experiences during the war.







23 thoughts on “Virginia War Memorial, D-Day, and Six History Shows Recap

  1. Great photos, Yvette, as always. And thank you for the suggestions for things to watch and for the timeline which showed the full dates for WW2. US sources usually leave off the first two years that we went through before you guys joined in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hi clive – i feel so mug more connected to you Brits when i watch anything with the War. well i do enjoy BBC shows and feel that connection – and i also enjoy the way your music posts often tell how a song or album did on both sides of the Atlantic –
      i almost did not use that timeline because it left off D-Day- but it had enough – and i think you are right – many people think of pearl harbor as the start …
      also- the ghost army (with the artists and master deceivers) were inspired by some of the covert ops you all had going! whew – shared ideas and pulling together really made a difference

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Yvette. It’s funny how things can make a connection for us, isn’t it. Our countries have much that we share in present day culture, but history is much more complicated!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. oh thanks Dan! leftovers will be offered – and i also have a few fresh things for this week – feel like my blogging mode might be back on track soon here….
      have a good week and see you Thursday

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel blessed to have interviewed several veterans of WW2 over the years. To a man, they were gracious and humble and forthcoming. Now we enter the next phase as most of these men have passed and the veterans of the Vietnam war take their place.

    Your captures, as always, punctuate your content. And the timeline is quite interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hey- please tell me if you still have some data from the interviews you did with those WW2 vets
      -and your come to reminded me about how in the 1990s and early 2000s we would see some WW2 Vets with the little poppy pins for a donation – and if always have my boys get one or two –
      if i could go back i would talk with the Vets more.
      and cheers to the aging ones we have now and may we all find ways to embrace them

      Liked by 1 person

  3. D-Day was the day my father-in-law landed on Omaha Beach, thankfully as one of the survivors, the only one from his Higgins boat. Some years ago, we were privileged to visit Normandy and take a ten-hour tour with a private guide, an awesome and somber experience. On the second day we visited the American museum and cemetery as well as other sites and on the third had a private tour of the British and Canadian sites. It was an experience that defies description and made an impact that was also difficult to express.

    One of the things I especially appreciated was experiencing how many Europeans appreciate the American participation and sacrifices there. In a time when we’re so often attacked for everything we do, it was a refreshing experience.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Yvette.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. wow Janet – that really sounds like a great experience to visit that area and have the tour
      also – i cannot imagine how your father n law felt being the only survivor – i am sure it made him value life more
      thanks for sharing about him

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A fascinating review. My choice of viewing was the 1958 Dunkirk film. Both Jackie’s and my fathers survived that episode – I had never seen it before, and they had never told us quite what they went through.


    1. hi derrick – i am going to look that one up and plan to watch it / even through right now i might have had my fill with all military movies – and going t back to Little Dorrit book this week will bring some nice change of content

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for sharing your photos of the Virginia Memorial. It looks like a lovely place, especially for reflection. And thanks for the reviews! Most of those movies I hadn’t heard about (although I guess I can skip We Go In At Dawn ;-)).


  6. This is a great post, Yvette. I have been reading books about America’s involvement In WW1. I learned so much from To the last man by Jeff Shaara and A farewell to arms by Ernest Hemingway.


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