YEP Says, June 6: Remembering the debt we owe to the heroes of D-Day

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Their sacrifices secured the freedoms we enjoy today.

FEW could sum up D-Day better than Leeds veteran Norman Dewhirst.

The 90-year-old stormed the Normandy beaches on this day 70 years ago, playing his part in the operation that turned the tide of the Second World War.

“It was an important battle because people can live the life they want today rather than being told to live one by someone else,” Norman says of a day that would change the course of history.

“We just got on with it, that was just the way it was.”

Men like Norman and fellow D-Day veterans Jack Mortimer and Peter Paylor fought to preserve our way of life in the face of Nazi tyranny.

Without their courage – and that of the thousands of Allied troops who made the ultimate sacrifice – the attempt to liberate Europe would have been a failure.

Yet soon there will be no one left to offer first-hand accounts of this momentous event. No one to remind us of how much we owe to those who were part of it.

Perhaps then it is time for more schools to take students on regular trips to Normandy, so that they can grasp the significance of what occurred there 70 years ago and realise the enormous sacrifices that were made in order to secure the freedoms they enjoy today.

It would also help them to recognise that individuals of genuine substance like Norman, Jack and Peter embody the true meaning of the word ‘hero’ in a society that too often bestows that status on hollow celebrities.

Can trolleybus banish city’s rush hour blues?

REGULAR commuters in and out of Leeds city centre will be surprised by research that shows the average speed of vehicles during rush hour is 15mph. Surprised, that is, that the figure is so high.

The city’s road network groans under the sheer volume of traffic that pours on to it each day. Yet for many motorists there is simply no obvious alternative.

Leeds is the largest European city not to have a mass transit system – which is why transport bosses are now backing the controversial trolleybus project.

It may have its doubters, but the litmus test will be whether that average speed goes up if and when trolleybus is up and running.

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