THIS could be the last time veterans make the journey to Normandy to commemorate the D-Day landings.
The Normandy Veterans Association will soon disband and many who stormed the beaches are pushing 90.
It makes the 70th anniversary all the more poignant.
We must never forget the sacrifice made by so many to ensure our freedom.
Men and boys took that trip across the Channel, knowing heavy gunfire and possible death awaited.
But they were willing to face that head-on for King and country.
It was their actions, endeavours and lives that ultimately marked the beginning of the end of the war.
And it was the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry that ensured the landings were successful.
The daring raid on Pegasus Bridge and Ranville Bridge led by Major John Howard was vital to keeping German reinforcements from arriving at the beaches, which would soon be echoing to the sound of gunfire and reverberating with the impact of shells as thousands of men set foot on Normandy sand.
Had the mission been a failure, the Allied troops would have met further resistance and possibly been driven back into the cold waters.
But Operation Deadstick secured those bridges, at just after midnight on June 6, 1944, and the rest is history.
Our commemoration of these brave acts should not be consigned to the annals of the past as well.
The tales of heroism, loss and wartime life experienced by those involved in D-Day, such as Marston resident Stan Rhymes, should remind us of our debt of gratitude to them.
The younger generation should read the deeds relived in the pages of our D-Day supplement and appreciate the freedom they may take for granted.
Communities should unite to mark the occasion.
Photos of ceremonies in Normandy, in Portsmouth and those such as the wreath laying at Major John Howard’s grave today in Clifton Hampden should be the ones shared on social media.
So when the 100th anniversary and beyond arrives, we will still remember.