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D-Day turns 75 years and having those momentary lapses of memory
At The Mike: June 6, 2019
Mike - At the Mike
Mike Marzolf

Operation Overlord.

It was the beginning of the end of World War II. Once the Allied Forces secured the beaches of Normandy, the writing was on the wall for the Axis in Europe.

That began on June 6, 1944. Today is the 75th anniversary of what we know as D-Day. At sunrise that Tuesday morning the anticipated landing on the coast of France took place. Within a year, the war in Europe was over.

It was the largest seaborne invasion in history with nearly 160,000 troops crossing the English Channel that day. The Allied causalities reached 10,000 that first day with nearly 4500 confirmed deaths. It took eight days before the Allied Forces finally secured a connected line amongst the five beaches, giving them a front 60 miles long and 15 miles inland.

The invasion, led by Kansan Dwight Eisenhower, was originally going to be on June 5 but was postponed one day due to high winds and high seas that would make landing even more difficult.

From there, the Allied Forces were able to establish a Western Front against Adolph Hitler and the Nazis. France was liberated a couple months later. By early 1945 the Allied Forces were in Germany and on May 8 of that year, Germany surrendered.

World War II came to an end later that summer when Japan surrendered on Sept. 2.

We should never reach a point we take this day for granted. It is among the most important dates in the history of the free world.

Former Barton Athlete/Coach update

One of our favorite former Barton coaches here at At the Mike is Steve Forbes. This fall will mark the fifth season for Forbes as the head men’s basketball coach at East Tennessee State. In his previous four seasons, the Buccaneers have won at least 24 games in each season. His 4-year total is 100-39.

During that time, he has not shied away from playing some of the ‘big boys’. The list of places he has taken his Bucs include Rupp Arena in Kentucky, at Xavier, at Illinois, at Mississippi State, and at Tennessee. He even got a return trip from Tennessee as the Vols went to East Tennessee State a couple years back.

This year, he gets to play at the most historic setting of all of them – and it’s a return trip home of sorts. You see Forbes and his ETSU team will be playing at The Phog this upcoming season. East Tennessee will travel to Lawrence to take on KU on November 19. In addition to his coaching time at Barton, he spent a few seasons as an assistant at Wichita State and has recruited the state tirelessly at times.

If you remember Forbes also spent time at Texas A&M as an assistant so he has been on the sidelines at Allen Fieldhouse, just not roaming them as a head coach.

I’d like to wish Steve good luck on his trip to Allen Fieldhouse. I’d like to but only to a certain extent.

And Finally

So sometimes I don’t think very well. Perhaps forget things for a brief moment. Surely, I can’t be the only one that does this.

Case in point was the past few days.

You see, I knew my anniversary was Tuesday. Talked about it in the days leading up to it. In fact, talked about it on Sunday with Crystal and Katelyn as well as Donovan, who was over that day.

Katelyn and Donovan even left shopping, then went to the basement and Crystal and I were told to stay upstairs. They eventually emerged with a nice large frame with several family pictures as an anniversary gift. Great gift.

So I was aware my anniversary was Tuesday. Really.

But a bit later while I was grilling hamburgers, Roger Ward gives me a call. Tells me Tuesday night’s home game for the Bat Cats was Great Bend Bomber youth baseball night. Ask if I might be interested in setting up my shaved ice tent.

Sure, not a problem. I can’t think of anything I have going on Tuesday.

I hang up, we eat and about an hour later my brain goes ‘ding-ding’.

There was no getting around it. I thought about it for a bit then just decide I had to confess. So I do. I get some ribbing from all three. But what’s done is done.

So, Tuesday night, Crystal and I spent our anniversary at Al Burns Field with shaved ice at a Bat Cats game. 

But really, what big plans can you have on a Tuesday night? Right? Right? Is anybody with me on this?

I did live to see the day after my anniversary. And the Bat Cats won. 

But now I think I have to make it up to her this weekend. I think that means going to see John Wick 3 I believe it is. She loves the first two movies. I think she might have a crush on Keanu Reeves. I bet he has lapses of memory as well.

Now, I have been in the same room while the first two John Wick’s have played on TV multiple times. But I really can’t tell you much about them except lots of people end up dying.

I wonder how dim the light gets on the phone. Maybe if I turn it all the way dim and hide it off to the side I can keep track of the Hunter Huntsmen, my fantasy baseball team, while I’m at the movie. 

Maybe she won’t notice. Or maybe I end up like some of John Wick’s adversaries. Hmmm.

Mike Marzolf is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune and his views don’t necessarily reflect those of the paper. He can be reached at