About the D-Day Remembrance Event
Updated: Feb 25, 2020
Hello again to all of you! I am back from my trip to England and Normandy for the 75th anniversary of D-Day, having survived the heat of reentry into daily life and worked through my worst-ever case of jet lag. Thanks to all of you who followed my trip on Twitch and via my social media sites (@JDKWyneken on Twitter, FB, & Instagram)—your encouragement and enthusiasm were fuel for me and the entire team. The trip went off without any major hitches, and each day seemed to beat the previous in terms of “wow” moments. The trip wasn’t relaxing in the slightest, but it was reinvigorating and more fun than I can possibly fully describe. But I’m going to try anyway in this post and in the ones arriving over the next few days.
Just to make sure you understand what my role in this VECTORS Virtual Field Trip (VECTORSVFT) was all about, I should mention that VECTORS—the sponsor of the VFT and a nonprofit on whose Board of Directors I sit, asked me to come along on the trip to serve as the historical content “subject expert” for this Virtual Field Trip by virtue of my Phd in twentieth-century European history and years of researching and teaching about the Second World War and its aftermath. The trip gave me the opportunity to talk to people around the world in real time about the history of D-Day and the sites we visited, as well as to talk about Krelle’s Inferno and my efforts to get it published. It was a fantastic opportunity for me to expand the audience for my book while (hopefully) helping viewers appreciate the history of what they saw on their laptops and mobile devices during our streams. It was such a whirlwind of activity prior to leaving that I never really took the time to consider our chances of success, nor did I really know exactly what the process or product would look like. In the end, it succeeded beyond our best expectations.
Working with VECTORS founder, Julia Cannell, and with the popular Twitch livestreamers @DasValdez and @SaberInSpace, we livestreamed and recorded over thirty-eight hours of content over seven days from the airfield at Duxford, England, to the beaches and hedgerows of Normandy. At the end of each day, the recordings would replay for audiences in the US who likely weren’t up early enough each day to catch the live feed. The viewing numbers were truly staggering—on just the livestream alone (not including those who watched the replays), there were over 2.5 million minutes watched by over 30,000 unique viewers in fifteen countries. Interestingly, only 46% of the viewers who tuned in over the seven days and interacted with us in real time via Twitch Chat were from the United States. It was a truly global audience that participated in the event, and it was among the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had.
Now that I’ve had time to rest, recover, and reflect, I’d like to take you all back through the trip using my own words and clips from the livestream. Keep coming back each day for new posts, or better yet, sign up to receive an email when a new post is up. Tomorrow I will start with my first day of the trip—more of the “pre-stream”—a twenty-four hour stopover in Iceland on our way to England.
And yes, Iceland is every bit as beautiful as you’ve heard….