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  • Javier Coronel

Finding Peace During the Most Unpeaceful Experience of Your Life

Finished Reading: June 2020

While times of war are something I never wish to experience, I have always been fascinated with the time periods where wars occurred (particularly World War II) as they are literally moments that change the course of human history. I am also interested in World War II as it is a situation where I can confidently say that the United States was on the "right" side which is not always the case. My interest in the perspectives of individuals during moments like World War II is what got me to read this book: Voices from D-Day. This book is a compilation of letters from individuals involved during D-Day which gives you a raw look at how they really felt during this hectic day.

For those of you unfamiliar with what D-Day is, basically think of it as a day that quite literally changed the course of history. June 6th of 1944. D-Day is the largest collaboration ever done in human history and if you would like to learn more about it I highly suggest you do as the entire event was insane!

What I want to focus on is the common threads I see throughout the event from the individuals letters. Particularly, how common it was that individuals felt calm. You would think that one of the bloodiest days in history would leave the majority of individuals being at a loss of words... but yet, so many were calm. Before, during, and after the event individuals continued to say how calm they felt which had me in complete disbelief. Some people even described the atrocities happening around them in graphic detail but continued to state that they had an overwhelming feeling of calm.

Looking back on this book, I think of situations I have been in and while I have never been in a war (nor do I ever wish to be involved in one), I can relate to feeling calm during times of uncertainty. To elaborate, my background in being an MMA fighter has resulted in over a hundred fights and over the course of my journey into the martial arts world, I have noticed how calm I have become in high stress situations. In fact, I sort of enjoy being placed in high stress situations (this is something noted in certain letters throughout the book as well). At first I remember stressing about every single punch and kick being thrown my way but suddenly, like the bullets whizzing by the individuals who were involved in D-Day, I became immune.

This is what I have enjoyed about reading books like this: it gives you some insight to yourself. Yea, you've most likely never been in a war situation, but I am almost certain you've been placed in a high stress situation. How would you react? Would you crack under the pressure? Would you perform well? Why would you react the way you do? These are the type of questions I like to ask myself whenever I read a book as I like to think of a book as a vessel into your own mind through the perspective that was not already in you.

If you have an interest for seeing humans in the rawest form and having some insight on the thoughts running through the minds of people who helped change the course of human history, pick this book up!

Some quotes from the letters in this book:

"Yet in pubs, men and women were drinking and singing and dancing as if nothing were happening" - Before the event

"It's really strange that the human mind doesn't seem to be able to comprehend that you could very well be in a suicide mission" - Sergeant Alan Anderson

"When you begin, you wonder how will you ever get used to it, but then it becomes automatic... I did it before and I can do it again." - 21 year-old Joseph Camera

"The sickening sight that met my eyes froze me on the spot...Every last one of them was dead." - W Garwood Bacon

"All of a sudden I heard a pin, a bullet. I dove to the ground. He never moved. He said 'What a lousy shot'. That's what I call cool" - Bernard Feinberg in relation to Major Bingham

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