A few weeks ago, Europe celebrated the 70th anniversary of when Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy and started the invasion of German-occupied Europe.

By the end of D-Day, the Allied troops had established a foothold in France, an event which eventually led to the end of the war, 11 months later. However, this heroic effort was not without significant loss; as many as 4000 Allied troops lost their lives on that single day, along with up to 9000 German troops.

Because of its strategic position, Malta played a crucial role in the Second World War. It was the perfect base for Allied soldiers to launch attacks on the German army. However, because of this, it also suffered extensive attacks from the enemy and it holds the record for the heaviest sustained bombing attack:

Some scary statistics show just how terrible the attacks were – 154 days and nights in a row of bombing with the worst happening during the months of March and April 1942 when an incredible total of 6700 tons of bombs were dropped on the island in just those two months.

Malta is the only country in which the entire population was awarded the George Cross: the highest civilian award given for bravery.

In my thoroughly 21st century modern life, I can’t imagine not having the freedom to think, say and do exactly what I please.

And so today for me is a reminder to take a step back and see how far we have come and what it has taken get here, and to just say a quiet little thank you.