June 6th as I start this, the 67th anniversary of D-Day, and once again one of my relatives has posted on Facebook a false claim about another relative--her grandfather, father-in-law to one of my brothers--jumping out of an airplane in the dark over occupied France on this day 67 years ago. He was indeed a member of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, he did indeed see combat, but he wasn't with the unit on D-Day when it was dropped east of the Orne River to defend the left flank of the invasion beaches. His baptism of fire happened on March 23rd 1945, when the unit jumped into a wooded area east of the Rhine to secure a bridgehead against German artillery and reinforcements and protect the Allied crossing. He fought with the battalion across the north German plain and ended up at Wismar on the Baltic in May 1945, two hours ahead of the advancing Soviet army, six days before the war in Europe officially ended. I know all that from his own mouth, my wife and one of her brothers confirm the story, as does his service record, he wasn't there on D-Day.
His service record speaks for itself, it needs no embellishment, and I think getting such details wrong dishonours his memory. She's made this claim and been corrected at least four times that I know of, yet she keeps making it. I haven't corrected her Facebook post, a few years ago I corrected the same claim on her blog and was met with such hostility and abuse from her and her siblings and their father that I deem it not worth trying anymore. How the Hell does such mythology get established, and why does it persist in the face of all the evidence? Don't the facts matter? These people aren't stupid, most have advanced degrees, in fact one of them's an historian, who KNOWS the facts matter. What's going on here?