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The Great Crusade

66 years ago today, American, British, Canadian, and French military forces poured into Normandy, France, in an effort to free Europe from Hitler's Nazi madness.

66 years. If you think about it, it really wasn't that long ago.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, visited with an airborne unit shortly before the operation took place, in an effort to rouse spirits, talking with some of the men who he was about to send into battle.

As he left, he broke down into tears, knowing most would not survive.

I've become captivated by documentaries about World War II. Seeing how it all started. Marveling at just how brave, and scared, the men must have been.

No matter what happened, and what they were faced with, they just pushed on through an unimaginable horror. Fighting, dying, experiencing feelings that are impossible to comprehend.

I've heard many times that, for those who fought in WWII, they almost universally don't talk about what they endured. Sort of an unspoken rule, or maybe they'd just rather keep it to themselves, like their own private memorial to the ones who fell along side them. Those that didn't make it.

As the years pass, there are less of them left. Each a departing piece of history, leaving their own legacy, hopefully to be remembered by others.

No matter where you may be, whether at home, on the computer, with your family, or abroad performing your own acts of bravery, today is solemn.

The book of history is written everyday. Some days, the pages take on a little more meaning.

June 6, 1944 is one of those pages.



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Comments (17)

In the same vein, I recentl... (Below threshold)

In the same vein, I recently got "The Longest Day" on Blu-ray, and found it to be a beautiful transfer and inspirational. I haven't looked at the extras, so can't comment on that.

Today it has a name, PTSD. ... (Below threshold)

Today it has a name, PTSD. They came home and were advised to 'get on with their lives', 'to suck it up and move on'. Many did. Some didn't. Those that did, built a hard shell around the past and let very few see it. Some, late in life open up, and you can see the emotions of 60+ years ago are still there.

In 1944 we had leaders who ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

In 1944 we had leaders who understood the world and were unafraid to confront evil and do the difficult things required to secure freedom and liberty for generations to come.

Such leaders are not in evidence today. Especially so in the United States. Even Neville Chamberlain, once his efforts to appease the NAZI's were proven to be a failure, became a staunch advocate of the war and worked tirelessly with Churchill to win that war. I do not believe that our leaders will do the same once their policies of appeasing radical islam are shown to be failures.

As a nation we are forgetting the lessons of history. We have abandoned many of the principles these men fought and died for.

Men could make the sacrifices that they were called upon to make because they had leadership that understood the danger and understood what was at stake.

On May 30th of this year I ... (Below threshold)
Dodo David:

On May 30th of this year I encountered a veteran of the Normandy invasion. It was a thrill for me to shake his hand and thank him for his service.

Shawn, What you need to do ... (Below threshold)

Shawn, What you need to do is read The first volume of Winston Churchill's memoirs of WWII. Actually just the first 4 or 5 chapters will do. Then you will have a good idea of how unnecessary the whole bloody business and the deaths of 50 million or so people really were. And try if you can to find a surviving Marine who was sceduled to be part of the assault on tha Japanese homeland. Helps immensely in understanding the decision to use the atomic bomb. Or have a conversation with a beautiful Hungarian lady, living in Italy, who came from a large and prosperous Jewish family and by 1945 was the only survivor. Then see if you can see any historical parallels to today.

"As a nation we are forgett... (Below threshold)

"As a nation we are forgetting the lessons of history."

Not surprising, since our Dear Leader appears to be wanting in knowledge in that area. He settled on 'a revised edition' now popular in schools since the 70's. The US is the root of ALL evil.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santanya

Neville Chamberlain stumble... (Below threshold)

Neville Chamberlain stumbled the world into war, and now Barack Obama is repeating the same mistakes...except that in Barack's case they are per his design.

Two years ago I had the opp... (Below threshold)

Two years ago I had the opportunity to fly a P-51 Mustang. What hit me really hard during that hour was an incredibly strong sense of identification with that "greatest generation". I was not prepared for that, and even two years later I still feel it very strongly. I now make it a point when I meet an Allied WWII vet to shake their hand and sincerely thank them.

Thanks, brainDead.Of... (Below threshold)
LeBron Steinman:

Thanks, brainDead.
Of course, we all realize know that the appropriate , enlightened action is to do exactly the opposite of anything you suggest.
BTW, here's a link to CBS complete radio broadcast day of June 6,1944.It's fascinating and dramatic audio history.

Bryan, have you always been... (Below threshold)

Bryan, have you always been on first name terms with Mr. Churchill?

Churchill did. of course, write in terms favorable to himself. Why not?

You call him an 18th century man. He was in many ways a throwback, and he had many flaws. On the other hand he was prescient in a way that few of his "modern thinking" contemporaries duplicated; and he had one great virtue. He was indefatigable at a time when that characteristic was most needed. And incidentally, he had a wonderful ability to inspire masses of people with the spoken and written word at a time when his country had precious few other weapons of defense..

One other thought on D-Day.... (Below threshold)

One other thought on D-Day. I was a boy when my father and all of the older "boys" in the family and neighborhood left for WWII. I have always reflected with wonder at what they did.

For many years I have been most pleased to accost any identifiable veteran of that war and encourage him to talk of a moment or two about his experience. Most have reached a point in their lives when they appreciate the attention and are pleased to talk about their experiences. I encourage anyone to take a few minutes when you see one with a ball cap or other symbol. You will be glad you did.

I really believe that D-Day is the most symbolic day of that war. It is a shame that it is not more widely observed now.

Glenn, my father was in the amphibious force at Okinawa and he would have been in the invasion of Japan. He drove the landing craft to the beach. My family has always been thankful for Harry Truman's courage.

bryanD's version of the D-D... (Below threshold)

bryanD's version of the D-Day broadcast:

Today, hundreds of French men, woman, and children are DEAD! Dead because of the INDISCRIMINATE allied bombing and shelling of their HOMELAND by the INVADERS. Their only crime being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Thousands more will probably die as we FREE their country. Is it worth the price?

Feel better bryanD?

It's too bad Obama missed t... (Below threshold)

It's too bad Obama missed the anniversary today. The White House website has nothing posted today on the 66th Anniversary of the D-Day landing. The president had other things on his mind. He was attending his second party this week, at the Ford Theater. Seems he's part of 'a special' being filmed and that will be aired July 4th.

"Sort of an unspoken rule, ... (Below threshold)

"Sort of an unspoken rule, or maybe they'd just rather keep it to themselves, like their own private memorial to the ones who fell along side them. Those that didn't make it."

I want to address this one aspect from my perspective. After you have been to "hell and back" the rest of life is a cake walk. Going into battle where you figure your going to die, and then coming home is.....unexplainable.
You can't really share it with someone whose main concern is, "honey did you get the garbage out to the road yet?" In fact you realize that you went over there to fight so that your family and friends could go on with their regular lives.

Ofcourse Obama has no inter... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

Ofcourse Obama has no interest in D-Day memories. No Muslims or Kenyans were involved.

When I was a kid, on June 6... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

When I was a kid, on June 6 of every year, my dad would gather us together and tell us about the importance of D-Day, and of the sacrifices that American men -- most of them in their late teens and early twenties -- made for freedom.

He was in the Army at that time, and if we prodded him would then tell us about his adventures that day on 1944 in Omaha. Omaha Nebraska, that is, not Omaha Beach. He had just finished advanced training and had a day's leave that day before shipping to Europe.

(He did get two battle stars for service in the Battle of the Bulge and the Battle for Germany, as part of a signal corps unit attached to -- but part of -- the famous 82nd Airborne. He freely admits that for the sacrifices that the dogfaces on Omaha Beach made that day, he would quite possibly not been around to tell us about D-Day -- and that we would not be around either.)

One more thing. The last th... (Below threshold)

One more thing. The last thing and I mean absolutely the last thing in the world any Pol like Barack Obama wants to do is invite comparison to those WWII guys.






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