THE 65th anniversary of the Normandy landings, the biggest and most ambitious sea to land invasion in history, was rightly celebrated last Saturday.

The remnants of the thousands of British, American and Canadian troops involved in Operation Overlord took part in parades and commemorations across Europe.

Many were shown in newspapers and on television — elderly men and women, proudly wearing their campaign medals.

The memories of that historic event, known as D-Day, which led to the liberation of Europe and the end of World War Two, will never leave their consciousness. We are told that time eventually erases the worst of all mental images, but surely that statement cannot apply to those who survived the carnage on the Normandy beaches. Some who spoke to camera were in tears as they remembered comrades among the 10,000 killed on June 6, 1944, one making the simple but telling comment: “They never lived to see their 20th birthday.”

Sadly, servicemen and women and innocent civilians are still dying as a result of armed conflicts, six and a half decades later, as the human race continues its helter skelter charge towards Armageddon, apparently determined to get there before environmental disasters do for the lot of us.

With that in mind, I would have been interested to hear the views of the D-Day survivors on what has happened to the world in general, and the UK in particular, in the intervening years. For example, did they consider their ordeal, and the deaths of their comrades, had been worthwhile?

Military personnel who took part in the Second World War, particularly those who fought in Europe, must have been fired by the belief that they were engaged in an ideological struggle to free the continent of Nazi oppression. They succeeded, but freedom was bought at a terrible cost.

I was only 10 in June, 1944, but I knew something big was in the offing as long lines of heavy trucks, field guns and tanks rolled past our house in Plodder Lane, Farnworth.

People poured out of their homes to cheer them on; it was heady stuff. However, there can’t be a family in the UK that wasn’t touched by that war through the injury or death of someone in the services, or civilian victims of the German Luftwaffe bombing raids. That is why such military anniversaries trigger the question: “Was it worth it?”

I have no firm evidence to justify my opinion, but I suggest the reply would be a firm if sad “No”.

I concede that one has to be of a certain age to harbour such negative thoughts, but with our parliamentary system imploding, corporate greed having brought the country to the verge of bankruptcy, drunken violence turning streets into no-go areas, gun crime, muggings, burglaries, vandalism and arson blighting urban life, the answer isn’t hard to predict. One need only look at the mess Britain has become to conclude that, given the retrospective choice, few, if any of those surviving soldiers would consider that saving dear old blighty justified the sacrifice.