Remember those who did and did not return

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CLIVE SMITH: I need to do some work on my hurdling technique

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Anyone who has ever met a D-Day veteran will surely not have forgotten the experience.

Being in the presence of those who so willingly put their lives on the line 70 years ago to help fight for our freedom is humbling – not least because they are so humble themselves.

The courageous stories of those involved in the D-Day landings have been frequently told in the pages of this newspaper and by various organisations which exist in this city.

And it is difficult to believe these stories have not inspired all those who hear them.

For that reason Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock is right when he says the people of Portsmouth will always hold a special memory for Normandy veterans.

On June 6, 1944, the people of Portsmouth woke up to a strange new world. It was eerily quiet, for they had grown used to having tens of thousands of Allied troops, their tanks and other assorted vehicles parked on their doorsteps.

Friendships had formed between neighbours and the men preparing for war in their streets.

Adults today who were children at the time will remember fondly their experiences of playing with the soldiers and watching in awe as the tanks started to roll in and fill up the roads.

Those friendships are hard to forget, and it is vital these memories are passed on to new generations.

We have been heartened to see many clever efforts in the city over recent months which all aspire to do just that.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard launched its HMS – Hear My Story exhibition which captures on video and audio the memories of those involved in D-Day.

We also applaud those involved in plans to further boost the work of the D-Day Museum in Southsea as we look next to the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Although it is sad the Normandy Veterans Association has disbanded, we can confidently say as a city that we will remember them.

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