Friday, June 06, 2008

64th Anniversary of D-Day: Operation Overlord

Sixty-four years ago, the Allied Invasion of Eurupe commenced. Thousands of troops - American, French, English, Canadian, and others - embarked on a quest to save Europe from Hitler's tyranny.
It wasn't an easy landing. The beaches at Omaha and Utah were brutal. Machine guns from atop the bluffs strafed the soldiers even before some of them got off the boats. Earlier, paratroopers jumped from the sky and landed in France, some scattered far away from their units, others killed when German soldiers saw them falling from the sky and shot them.
Before the invasion commenced, General Dwight D. Eisenhower said the following words:

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

You are about to embark upon 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 trained fighting men.

The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory! I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory! Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

SIGNED: Dwight D. Eisenhower

Today, take a moment to remember these brave men and the incredible courage it must have taken to do what they had to do.

7 comments:

  1. Sean is totally jazzed - History Television here in Canada is running a full day of WWII documentaries.

    A historic day, never to be forgotten.

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  2. Tess - I might have to pop in The Longest Day and watch it tonight.

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  3. I just finished a book that's a collection of dispatches from WWII combat reporter Don Whitehead, Beachhead Don. His first-person account of D-Day left me awestruck.

    Thanks for this tribute, Melissa.

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  4. History Television is running Band of Brothers Marathon today. Sean has rigged up his sound system so he can hear it OUTside as he works. Thought you'd get a kick out of that.

    I really liked BoB, but as I said to Sean last night - it was so intense, I'm not sure I could watch more than a couple of eps back to back.

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  5. Christine - that sounds like a great book. Will have to check it out. :-)

    Tess - Ha! Love that he rigged up the sound so he could hear it outside! That's a true history lover right there! ;-)

    I agree - it's a very intense show and I still haven't gotten through it all as I can't watch them too close to each other.

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  6. I visited the D-Day beaches over the week-end (Omaha and Pointe du Hoc) and will post about it later this week.
    People were bringing fresh flowers to the tombs. These places, with their thousands of graves, are always incredibly moving, and yet they never feel depressing.

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  7. Catherine - Wow. Visiting the D-Day beaches is on my list of "must-do's." I look forward to your post!

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