We do not celebrate D-Day with the same attention we give to Memorial Day or Veterans Day; some hardly take note at all. Most people will simply be toiling away at their regular 9 to 5. A few slabs of meat and stacks of 12-ounce aluminum canisters will undoubtedly be spared as a result.
However, I am the anomaly and have my celebration planned. After all, I have the envious job of being an outdoor writer. I plan to start my celebration with an olfactory treat—the sweet effluvia created after copious amounts of caps have been sacrificed and a sea of Hoppes #9 is flowing down the barrel. Just the thought of it causes my heart to skip a beat; much as it did when I was a child and anticipated a coming Christmas morning. Yes, I do this at least weekly, but it’s a perk of the job, so cut me some slack.
However, it’s not about me. It is important to remember what this celebration is all about. On June 6, 1944, 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of a heavily fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. It was the start of one of the greatest campaigns in history.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end on June 6, the Allies had gained a foothold in Normandy. However, taking the beach resulted in a human debt. D-Day came with a high cost—over 100,000 Soldiers began the march across Europe to defeat Hitler. Nine thousand-plus Allied troops were either killed or wounded on June 6.
Celebrating D-Day means this will be a day to leave the favored AR in the safe aside the Glocks, MKA-1919 and such. Guns shooting well below MOA will be traded for M1s, 1911s, of course an old friend will be along for the ride, my favorite M1903 Springfield and other weapons of the same ilk will rule the day. And how could we forget the world’s first truly successful semi-auto shotgun, the venerable Browning Auto 5. Zombie targets will all be of the Nazi persuasion and by the end of the day some meat will be subjected to proper incineration at a minimum.
Through the smoke, eats, clanging of dog tags of colorful metaphors being slung about the range, we will also take time to bow our heads in a moment of silence and honor those who experienced hell on earth, June 6, 1944…