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The longest day

On this date, 62 years ago today, on what has since become known as "The Longest Day," the Allied combined forces mounted the invasion of France on the beaches of Normandy. Over 156,000 soldiers left England to begin the final liberation of Europe from Nazi Germany, facing hundreds of thousands of Germans and defenses they had literally spent years building. By the time the battle of Normandy was done five days later, over 80,000 Allied soldiers were dead or missing, while the Germans lost about 200,000.

This was not so much a turning point in the European War, as the Battle of Midway was in the Pacific, but it was the beginning of the end. Less than a year later, Germany would be crushed between the forces of the Allies to the west, and the Soviets to the east. Huge portions of Germany would be laid waste, and the survivors abject refugees. It would mark the end of the World War in Europe, and begin the Cold War that would last more than four decades.

On this day, thousands and thousands of young men followed their orders and went into the meat grinder that was Normandy. Many of them never returned, and in France there are large plots of land that are now American soil, bought and paid for with their blood. These cemetaries, filled with those brave young men, are all the land we took by right of conquest that we deigned to keep in the greatest war ever fought in history.

On this day, when we think of America's sons struck down far too young, so many who died before they could father the next generation of Americans, let us also remember their spiritual sons and daughters, 62 years later, with new uniforms, new weapons, new equipment, but the same noble spirit who have taken up the mantle of those who fell in Normandy in 1944 and serve our nation today.

There are those who call the World War II generation "the greatest generation," and I certainly do not wish to diminish their accomplishments. But I would add one caveat -- "the greatest generation yet." For I do not believe that America has "peaked." I believe, as they say, that the best is yet to come. Some day, a generation of Americans will surpass the accomplishments of those from World War II.

But my god, they set a hell of a high standard.


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Comments (15)

This was a lesson on what h... (Below threshold)

This was a lesson on what happens when you end a war (WWI) poorly, sadly as our venture to Iraq may be viewed in coming years. Now whether I am referring to 1991 or 2003, well, lets let the historians figure that out in a decade or so.

Well done.... (Below threshold)

Well done.

Thank You.... (Below threshold)
snurfle:

Thank You.

Lest we forget, the greates... (Below threshold)
JohnMc:

Lest we forget, the greatest generation is passing away now at a rate of 1000 or more a day.

They also leave a legacy of a defense establishment that forces our opposition to slink in the middle of the night and attack soft targets. For they know that to go head to head with the US is nothing but 'death by cop' by other means.

BTW, the fairy tales of "im... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

BTW, the fairy tales of "imperial Japan" and "fascist Germany" becoming fully functional/prosperous democracies would have been ridiculed by our "friends" on the left. Yet these fairy tales have become reality, thanks to the "greatest generation". Iraq can be such a story.

nice one Jay.... (Below threshold)

nice one Jay.

Interesting comment. Under... (Below threshold)
Cousin Dave:

Interesting comment. Under the traditional rules of warfare, the U.S. and the UK would have been within our rights to claim all of France and Germany as territory. Instead, we asked only for enough to bury our dead.

Well done, Jay.My ... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Well done, Jay.

My step father's father, God rest his soul, was on the beach on D-Day and, just a few months later, fought in the bloody The Battle of the Bulge. How he survived, I'll never know.

Excellent post. Than... (Below threshold)
tblubrd:

Excellent post.
Thanks.

Here's one little tidbit th... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

Here's one little tidbit that I picked up from reading Stephen Ambrose's To America: When Gen. T. Roosevelt, son of President T.R., landed at Utah beach about a mile off course, he and Gen. Joe Collins were in a shell hole on the beach and looking at a map. They realized they were in the wrong place. One of them (Ambrose wasn't sure which one) said, "Well, we will start the war from right here."

Today's left and leftmedia would be screaming for somebody to take the fall for that mistake. Me, my chest pumps with pride and I thank God that such men were in that place in that time and ready to do what was necessary, and mistakes be damned.

So mistakes get made in war. BIG F-ING DEAL! SO WHAT! You can either sit down in the mud and cry for your mama or you can "start the war from right here."

It's also the reason why Ulysses S. Grant won the Civil War instead of George McClellan.

So salute to the men who slogged ashore (including my wife's late grandpa, 149th Combat Engineers) and kept going no matter what. And to the men and women of today who keep going no matter what, critics be damned.

Good call... (Below threshold)
Tony:

Good call

Great post. We liked it so... (Below threshold)

Great post. We liked it so well, we opened today's radio program with it, and we have posted it with a link to your site on ours Constitutional Public Radio.

We enjoy reading your blogsite, and have it bookmarked on the toolbar for daily perusing. Keep up the good work. It's blogs like yours that keep the truth and justice in the American way.

All the best,

Andrea and Mark
Constitutional Public Radio
"CPR for the Heart of America"
AM 1510 on Florida's Beautiful Space Coast
live stream at www.1510wwbc.com

Well done. Nice contempory ... (Below threshold)
HeyMike:

Well done. Nice contempory take.

I salute the soldiers who t... (Below threshold)
Chris:

I salute the soldiers who took part in D-Day. My uncle lies in a grave in France. But a big f* you to those commenter who somehow want to portray opponents of the war in Iraq as opponents of D-Day. It's shameful to use the sacrifice of those brave men and women to try and score cheap political points, particularly based on flawed logic and wild ass assumptions. You should be ashamed for trying to co-opt those soldiers' sacrifices to somehow support your views on a completely different war. You don't speak for the WWII vets, and you certainly aren't qualified to determine what I would have thought about D-Day. Screw you.

Good stuff...keep the faith... (Below threshold)
Tango:

Good stuff...keep the faith.




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