D-Day June 6, 1944: the Allies invade five Normandy beach heads. Every person my age knew the significance of this day. In 1962, Dad took me to 86th Street's RKO to see the D-Day film "The Longest Day." I can still hear the theme song in my head. Every boy in the neighborhood whistled it for a year after the movie came out. It was on the radio like a hit record.
Almost 40 years later, "Saving Private Ryan," was released. I decided to return the favor and this time I'd take Dad to a D-Day picture. Well on his way to being deaf, Dad always refused to get a hearing aid out of vanity. But because of his love for all things World War II nostaglic, for the first time ever he decided Private Ryan would be the first time he'd use a hearing assistance device. When we entered the theatre he asked a matron for a device and we took our seats before the show. He didnt put it on right away telling me he was going to avoid the coming attractions and put it on as the film started.
And that's what he did. Unfortunately, he didnt do a sound check, he had the volume on maximum and the film was "Saving Private Ryan." When the action starts they hit the beach and the thundering explosions don't stop, the loudest in movie history. After it was too late, the first explosion went off in Dad's ears sending both his arms straight up like he was in a surprise stick up, then he quickly brought his raised arms down to rip the device off his head then he returned his hands to his ears and rocked gently side to side holding his head in a craddling motion.