Thursday, June 6, 2019

D-Day 75th Anniversary

Today marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the battle that helped turned the tide of World War II - but at a terrible cost in human lives. When the first wave arrived at Normandy Beach, the casualty rate was an unthinkable 90%. Yet wave after wave kept arriving and kept fighting their way to the heavily fortified cliff tops.

Many thousands of our fallen remain in Normandy today, their resting places marked with simple white crosses. Row upon row of memorials to young lives given in the name of freedom and liberation.

Let us never forget their sacrifice, nor give too little credit and appreciation to all who serve and have served in uniform through the years. Some gave all...all gave some. We are in their debt.


TrickyRicky said...

It boggles my mind that it has been 75 years since this monumental endeavor. Something that changed the world forever, which my parents and grandparents lived through via radio and newsreels, and which is slowly slipping from our collective memories.

May their sacrifice not be in vain. May we always be worthy, and always honor them.

Maoz said...

Stilt, thanks for posting this. Though my Dad didn't participate in D-Day, he did take part in the war against the Axis. As a pilot in a troop carrier outfit, he took part in the Market-Garden (the "Bridge Too Far") operation, among others. I stand in awe of that entire generation of fighters for freedom. Thank God for them; and may He bless the surviving veterans and continue to grant true peace to those who are no longer with us.

Old Cannonballs said...

Thank you Stilt.

Colby Muenster said...

My dad was an infantryman in the South Pacific (Luzon). He was a survivor of childhood polio, but enlisted anyway at the age of 32, after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He seldom spoke of that time when I was growing up, probably because I was too young to fully grasp it.

He was on the other side of the world December 6 1944, but I know he would have joined his fellow men on that day if given the chance because he knew what was at stake.

My father survived, but so, so many did not. My deep thanks to them for my freedom.

Maybe the politics will be silent for just this one day.

Thanks, Stilton.

Allencic said...

My favorite uncle was in an early wave to hit Omaha beach as a combat engineer. He fought at St. Lo, the Battle of the Bulge, and it was his outfit the ferried the first GIs across the Rhine at the Remagen Bridge. He was there when the U.S. linked up with the Russkies at the Elbe. He led a good and honorable life after the war until his death in 1998. My wife and I took a trip to Europe in 1999 and Normandy and Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery were our first stops. We were able to find our way to drive down to the beach and I took some of my Uncle's cremains and scattered them in the surf. It was amazing how quickly they vanished from sight. Just as with the remaining WW II vets who are quickly vanishing. I think he would be glad part of him is where the victory over the Nazis really started.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@TrickyRicky- The idea that whole generations are forgetting (or were never taught) about these sacrifices is hugely offensive to me. How can anyone truly appreciate what they have without knowing what it cost?

@Maoz- Bless your Dad for his service. I think "awe" is the right word to use as we look back at that generation and all they did, including when they came home. We have many brave men and women in our armed forces today, but I can't imagine that we'll ever again have the unity of purpose - in uniform and on the home front - that Americans showed in World War II.

@Colby Muenster- My father-in-law also survived polio before going to war in the Pacific. The pictures of him in uniform show him to be little more than a boy in age, but a man in every sense. He made it home, but had "jungle rot" on his feet that would come and go for the rest of his life. He was a gentle man, and he is missed.

And yes, I didn't want to talk about politics at all today. It wouldn't be right.

@Allencic- Thank you for sharing that story, and making all of this a little more real and personal for us. And I'm glad you made that trip down to the surf. I can't imagine a better or more appropriate memorial.

james daily said...

I, too, did not learn of D-Day in history in school, college or relatives. They would not talk about it even to each other. I have read many books covering most aspect of the invasion but learned something new last week from a picture: Blimps. I never knew that blimps were used but the pic showed a bunch of them. Anyways, as once so eloquently said, "Never has so much been owed to so few." That was Churchill speaking of the British pilots but it fits this invasion also in the over all scheme.

It really galls me that these foreign ingrates disparage their sacrifice - in English and French.

MAX Redline said...

I watched "Saving Private Ryan" today, even though I've grown to despise Tom Hanks. That flick is widely considered to be the most realistic depiction of the attack ever committed to certainly portrays some of what those men went through.

The idea that whole generations are forgetting (or were never taught) about these sacrifices is hugely offensive to me. How can anyone truly appreciate what they have without knowing what it cost?

I agree. I think that's why so many today have no appreciation of the costs of the freedoms to be jerks that they enjoy today.

M. Mitchell Marmel said...

(raises a glass)

alf said...

All schools should be FORCED to teach American History. History written by a conservative with an independent. Todays democrats MUST be kept away from the writings.

Sortahwitte said...

While living in West Germany, yes it was that long ago, I worked to visit every American cemetery and battlefield. For clarity, all the cemeteries were in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. Yesterday, June 6th was also the anniversary of Belleau Wood, where in WW1 the US Marines ran head on into the Germans. It was a battle of several weeks, but the Marines lost over 1000 KIA the first day. The battlefield was in thick woods adjacent to a wide wheat field. You can walk the paths and trails and go wherever you care to, unlike the still off limits areas of some of the Verdun site. It's easy to imagine the sounds of the bullets cracking the sound barrier as they go by your ear. Adjacent is the American cemetery where the spring of Le Boies de la Brigade de Marines is found. Lore is that if a US Marine drinks from the water, he will have his life extended some years. I chugged and gave thanks for the brave men who went before. How does this country produce such warriors?

Al Dutton said...

I grew up surrounded by WWII Veterans. Both my Parents were Combat Veterans. Dad Was a Gunner in Bombers, and Mom was a Radio Operator involved in Vectoring Bombers back to England after their nightly bombing runs over German Cities. The Nazis were constantly trying to 'triangulate their Radio Signals in order to find and kill them. That's why they worked in mobile Radio Vans. They NEVER broadcast from the same place twice. The Nazis NEVER gave up trying.
One night, the Nazi Radio Triangulation people actually found them! Thanks to the mobile British Anti Aircraft Gunners (40mm Bofors guns) who traveled with the Group, they all survived! The only Van damaged my Mom's van. A crashing Junkers Ju-88 actually struck and damaged my Mom's van at they crash landed in a field behind her vehicle, damaging the roof! She showed us pictures of the damaged roof of her Van!