Monday, June 6, 2016

Remembering D-Day

June 6, 1944 is a day that should be remembered by every living U.S. citizen, as well as by British and Canadian citizens. D-Day.

Do you know what the "D" in D-Day stands for? It stands for "day." To say "D-Day" is like saying "T-Time" or "H-Hour." You've probably heard people say "T minus 10 minutes and counting," right? Any specifically scheduled military operation may be so designated.

There's good reason that the June 6, 1944 landing of Allied forces in Normandy came to be known as the D-Day, though. The largest amphibious landing in history, Operation Overlord involved over 160,000 Allied troops supported by more than 13,000 aircraft and 5,000 ships. Does that sound like overkill? It wasn't. Although the Nazis forces by the time of the landing were far less strong than they'd been earlier in the war, Allied casualties on D-Day were still about 10,000 killed, wounded, or missing in action. 

After years of some of the greatest atrocities in the history of the world, D-Day marks the beginning of the end of the horrors of Nazi occupation of Europe.

In 2014, for the 70th anniversary of D-Day, my husband and I took our sons to visit Normandy. As we surveyed the battle sites and saw the many remains of Nazi fortifications, I couldn't help but think that had we lived 70 years ago, my sons might well have been among those storming the beaches on D-Day.

Since then, my oldest son has become an officer in the U.S. Navy, so the thought of such action impacts me even more greatly than ever before.

War is terrible.  But sometimes there is no choice but to undertake any means necessary to battle a great evil.  The fight against the savagery of the Nazi regime was such a time, I think.

Here is General Eisenhower's message to the members of the Allied Expeditionary Force.  If you've never read it, you should.  If you've read it before, I know you'll appreciate reading it again.
You are about to embark on the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months.  The eyes of the world are upon you.  The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.  In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one.  Your enemy is well trained, well equipped, and battle-hardened.  He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944!  Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41.  The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man.  Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground.  Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of fighting men.  The tide has turned!  The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle.  We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

Good Luck!  And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.
As I reflect upon the freedoms that we enjoy, I am grateful beyond measure for the many men and women who sacrificed so greatly 72 years ago.


Kathy Olson said...

I would love to visit Normandy one day. I love history and I'd love my kids to see it, too.

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

What a great post! Thank you for the historical reminder that freedom isn't really free. Many men and women have lost their lives fighting for our freedom and for those of others.


Mrs. White said...

I had never read that message from Eisenhower. Thank you for sharing it. Thank God for those great men who fought in such an important war!

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