D-Day is today, 64 years ago.
Link to Reagan’s famous speech at France: http://www.reaganfoundation.org/reagan/speeches/dday_pdh.asp
My comment below.
To our younger readers, I encourage you to look at history in this way: Our fathers fought the good fight. Why? How? When? Where?
If you understand history, you will understand these questions and the answers. That way, when we face similar issues today, we can readily identify their significance.
But also, we remember the battles and the dead because no one else will. Rather than see them slip of into obscurity, we want to give respect where respect is due, honor where honor is due, and call upon the world to give up its wicked ways and do what is right in all cases.
D-Day was the largest naval landing in the history of the world.
The second largest naval invasion was a disaster. It was when the Mongols attempted to invade Japan. It is where they came up with the word Kamikaze–Divine Wind.
I cannot think of anything of this scale happening again. With today’s technology, we simply wouldn’t attempt something like this. If we fought an enemy as aggressive and ruthless and determined and unconquerable as the Germans and Japanese, we would simply start using nuclear weapons, and we did. We would bomb and bomb and bomb some more for good measure, and we did.
Today, we can look back and almost laugh because they did things the wrong way, the same way we can laugh at our ancestors who lived in sod houses or who couldn’t build bridges that didn’t collapse. But remember that they did the very best they could with what they had. I can think of no better solution, and if I could, it wouldn’t matter because I wasn’t there at the time. And sometime in the future, your children will be laughing at you and your primitive ways.
Everyone on those boats knew what was going to happen. They were going to die, likely, and they were told that. They were going to crawl over the bodies of their brothers who either drowned or bled to death or got their brains blown into little bits. All this for the privilege of getting gunned down by German machine guns.
Eventually, maybe a handful of soldiers would be able to crawl over the bodies of their fallen friends and take out the machine gun, but not until hundreds or thousands of lives would be claimed.
These soldiers who landed weren’t ignorant of the risks or likelihood of success. And yet they went on and forward. Can you do the same today?
Once they got a foothold on the beach, they would immediately have to mobilize their armor and supply chains to fight and puch Germany back to Germany. They would be fighting, endlessly, until the end of the war. There would be no more breaks, no more vacations. This was the last domino falling, and it had to fall. If it didn’t, if they lost their foothold on the European continent, there were no plan B’s. The war would be lost, unwinnable.
I think of the sacrifice that our American boys had to make, but I know that the Canadians payed far more dearly. The area they took was much better guarded. I think today the Canadians still feel the pain because so many men who answered their country’s call never came home. Unlike the Americans, an entire generation of soldiers was almost wiped out that day. When victory in Europe was declared, there weren’t many Canadian soldiers returning to families and loved ones.
I think also of the generals who made the decision and the plans. We get this image of invincible generals like MacArthur and Eisenhower and Patton, omniscient, omnipotent. But these were men, quite capable of making mistakes. How many times do you think they wondered if this was going to go down in history as the biggest military blunder of WWII? Yet, they did what they could, put the rest into the hands of their soldiers and God, and prayed like mad that it wouldn’t be a vain effort.
My grandfathers weren’t part of D-Day. One was a 17-year-old Navy sailor in the Pacific. The other was a marine who fought on Guadalcanal. (There’s another story that is worth remembering.)
In the end, we can only thank the Divine that we survived that war and the enemy did not. We can only thank heaven that we are speaking English, the American kind, and we don’t have a king or Fuhrer or any other person we owe our lives to.