Myopic was still unconscious when the ambulance took him away. We could all see plainly the sharp bulge where his broken collar bone protruded. Soon word arrived that he had recovered fully, but we never saw him again for his parents decided it best to take him out of school. It wasn’t doing him any good in any case. The story went that he suffered an innocent collision playing footy and it was never disputed.
It was 7am. The second wave of troops arrived on the shambles that was Omaha Beach. Men splashed ashore under the saturating fire of the enemy. Landing craft joined the ever-growing graveyard of wrecked, blazing hulks. Each wave of boats gave up its own bloody contribution to the incoming tide, and all along the crescent-shaped strip of beach dead Americans gently nudged each other in the water.
A film I saw with reluctance. I read The Longest Day and just plain didn’t want to see the movie when it was released despite the presence of John Wayne and lots of other favourite actors (how could they miss?) I think I had just seen one American war movie too many. Anyway, I knew it was in black and white, which was inappropriate to any epic. And I knew too that no movie could match the horror to be found in the book. I was right. The lack of colour made it seem like the same old WWII footage (despite the wide screen and thundering sound), Wayne was really the only performer big enough not to be swallowed by the enormity of the events, and there were no American bodies bumping gently against each other in the red water. There just wasn’t anything the film could do that the book didn’t take care of. Cornelius Ryan was very brave to take on such a huge subject and put it in such a small space.