By Aaron B. Hale
Today we celebrate the beginning of Operation Overlord, the D-Day Invasion. On this day 70 years ago the allied powers transported over 150,000 men across the English Channel to infiltrate fortress Europe eventually breaking the Nazi hold over much of the continent. As pop culture fans we often read fictional stories of heroes and their deeds, however sometimes the facts are way stranger then the fiction. Before Sir Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan Kenobi) was fighting Darth Vader and instructing young Jedi he was serving in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve in World War II. During the War Sir Alec Guinness commanded landing craft ferrying British troops to the beaches of Normandy. Later on he would go to be knighted not just for his career in acting but his heroism as well.
In the classic Star Trek episode "City on the Edge of Forever", we see Spock, McCoy, and Kirk dealing with Nazis in a parallel timeline. In reality most of the crew of the Enterprise did not serve in World War II, most of them were too young, however James Doohan (Montgomery Scott) was almost red shirted. On June 6, 1944 Doohan was a member of the Royal Canadian Artillery. Their job was to secure Juno beach. While storming the beach, Doohan took out two snipers saving many of his men's lives in the process. As luck would have it he would be shot moments later only to be saved by his cigarette case slowing down the bullet. Making him not only a hero but one of a few people that could say smoking saved his life.
After the War, both men would become worldwide cultural icons due to their portrayals in Star Wars and Star Trek. Though both men have passed away, it is never too late to remember another side of their heroic legacy. In honor of the 70th anniversary of D Day let's lift a glass to them and all the others who fought against Fascism.
Aaron B. Hale is @BandB54 on Twitter