PBS has this way of blanketing viewers with information about our history.
That’s what educational television is all about, yes?
The week coming up is a big one for history buffs. Just as PBS took note of the 50th anniversary this past year of President Kennedy’s murder and of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, we’re going to walk back through an event that occurred 70 years ago, on June 6, 1944.
We remember it as D-Day.
On that day, U.S., British and Canadian forces stormed ashore at Normandy, France, on a long march into Germany, to retake Europe from the Nazi tyrant Adolf Hitler. It marked arguably the decisive turning point in World War II, even as the Soviet Red Army was beating back German forces along the bloody Eastern Front.
At 7 p.m., Tuesday, on Panhandle PBS, “D-Day 360” uses some high-powered technology re-create the landscape of the D-Day invasion. American forces landed at along two beachheads, Omaha and Utah; British forces came ashore at Gold and Sword beaches; Canadian forces landed at Juno beach. Of the five beachheads, Omaha proved to be the bloodiest and most difficult. The Germans had concentrated some of their heaviest fire on Americans coming ashore. What’s more, the Americans faced hostile terrain that included steep cliffs, from which the enemy was firing down upon them.
“D-Day 360” examines the terrain and looks at the difficulty facing the Allies as they began their liberation of Europe.
The next night, Wednesday, at 8 p.m., NOVA looks at “D-Day’s Sunken Secrets.”
On that special, dive teams will report on what they found among the wreckage strewn along the English Channel of Allied vessels and landing craft that sank during that historic invasion. The NOVA broadcast airs at 8 p.m., Wednesday, on Panhandle PBS.
The anniversary date is Friday. The PBS NewsHour — which airs at 6 p.m. nightly on Panhandle PBS — will have coverage of a special event taking place that day on the very beaches where the invasion occurred. President Obama, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, France’s President Francois Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin will be on hand to salute the thousands of brave warriors who faced hell on Earth as they fought their way toward ultimate victory over Hitler’s tyranny.
We are products of our history. This week celebrates one quite historic period.
Take a look at the American Experience link attached here commemorating D-Day, the Normandy invasion.
American Experience is the acclaimed documentary series produced by WGBH-TV, out of Boston, Mass.