Tag: D-Day

D-Day: A President’s Prayer, A General’s Letter and a Quote

 

Yesterday, I posted on my blog a photo I took on a D-Day tour of the lovely, peaceful, tranquil scene of Omaha Beach as it appeared in the Summer of 2019, as a brief commemoration of this day which began, with horrible loss of life and immeasurable injuries, the destruction of the Nazi war machine. It can be accessed here. I would like to add two items that struck me as most important to a fuller appreciation of what those Crusaders were subjected to in those critical hours for the survival of Western Civilization.

Before those items, which I will copy out in their entirety in view of what I see as their importance, I happened upon this quote from one who survived D-Day which, of all the millions and millions of words written about that day of horrors and death, very possibly hit me as hard as anything I have read. It appears at p. 423 of the Illustrated Edition of Stephen Ambrose’s book “D-Day”:

Military Leadership in Two Brief Messages

 

General Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, prepared two messages in preparation for D-Day, 6 June 1944. One was issued as his Order of the Day for June 6, 1944, to be read to all the troops. The other was jotted in pencil on a single page. Both messages teach us what military leadership under our constitutional republic should look and sound like.

SUPREME HEADQUARTERS
ALLIED EXPEDITIONARY FORCE

Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

D-Day for Millennials

 

To all the spoiled brats of the New York Times that are made to feel “unsafe” by an op-ed from a senator. Just remember, that 76 years ago today, men your own age and younger, walked into machine-gun fire so you could have the freedom to live your life in such a frivolous way. I’m not an American but to me, with all its faults, it’s still Reagan’s “shining city on a hill.”

For the Resilient, with Deepest Gratitude and Respect

 

What you’re about to read deserves much better than the rude ignoramuses protesting the American president in London (not representative of all Britons I suspect) and reporting here at home have enacted in recent hours. It is a story of courage the likes of which this world rarely encounters, and it engenders gratitude and sorrow every time. It is D-Day.

From a New York Times article (hopefully those like me who don’t subscribe can also view) on journalist Ernie Pyle who was embedded with the troops on D-Day:

Memory and Forgetfulness: Part 3

 

The Normandy D-Day Ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery was absolutely first class. The staging, audio and video production were excellent. Both presidents gave exceptional addresses. While each reflected their own nation’s character and perception of the good, they both kept the focus on the surviving veterans, there with them, and those who have long laid to rest in this consecrated ground. Warning: this is at least a two hanky event.

The ITV YouTube channel carried the Normandy American Cemetery ceremony, with President Trump and President Macron. President Macron helicoptered in just before the ceremony started, as he had started the day in the British beach sector with Prime Minister May, and with representatives of the British royal family at a church service. He, and the French people, did a fine job as grateful hosts. Don’t miss the WWII cargo aircraft formations towards the end of the American ceremony, with the two presidents and their wives side-by-side looking out over the beach to the sea. That rumble is the sound of liberty.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America reflect on the 75th anniversary of D-Day and applaud President Trump’s address at Normandy.  They also discuss Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden walking back his position change on the Hyde Amendment and facing criticism from his rivals for not backing  taxpayer-funded abortions. And they get a kick out of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly telling allies she would rather defeat President Trump and then see him prosecuted than have the House launch impeachment proceedings.

Auntie Pat Weighs In On the 75th Anniversary of Operation Overlord

 

I just got off the phone with her and–shameless self-promotion alert–she’ll be 96 next month, and is my Dad’s last surviving sibling. I phoned her because today is the 75th anniversary of the day Dad happened to the Pope (another one). I had in mind to ask her about something else, and as a result was taping the conversation (as she knows I sometimes do). And in the course of our chat, she mentioned that she’d been enjoying the D-Day commemorative exercises on the television, and that Donald Trump had been visiting the UK.

“Oh, yes,” I said. And he seems to have done pretty well, don’t you think?” And here’s how it went from there:

Auntie Pat: Well, yes. Except for those stupid people stomping about waving things. Makes me furious, because, you know, they’re all sitting pretty because of the fact that America came into the war. If it hadn’t been for the Americans, we shouldn’t be here.

Memory and Forgetfulness:Part 2

 

Seventy-five years ago, Operation Overlord was launched, opening a third land front in the strategic counteroffensive against Nazi Germany. The Germans were already reeling back from their high-water mark in the east (Stalingrad), and had squandered the cream of their veteran force in the Battle of Kursk during the summer of 1943. Predominantly American forces were slowly slugging their way up the length of Italy, where terrain favored competent defenders. It was finally time to open a western front with the sort of maneuver room found on the eastern front. We ought to pay tribute now, while there are still veterans of that great crusade with us.

The note here, dated July 5, was written by General Eisenhower, in case the D-Day landings failed. He praised “the troops, the air, and the navy,” and took total responsibility for the failure: “If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone.” His message was ready for transmission to the Allied nations. Mercifully, it never needed to be sent.

Calling out the deeds and identities of World War II heroes, both lost and living, is especially fitting on this, “The Last Longest Day.”

Remembering the Boys of Pointe du Hoc this Memorial Day

 

Friday’s online Wall Street Journal carried the usual Saturday column by Peggy Noonan. Aside from having been one of President Reagan’s speechwriters, Noonan is not ordinarily one of my favorites, but today’s column, “Which Way to Pointe du Hoc?”  really hit home for me for some very personal reasons.

One of the main reasons I signed up for a D-Day to the Rhine tour was that I wanted to stand on the spot where President Reagan stood when he delivered one of the most powerful speeches ever delivered by any President, “The Boys of Pointe du Hoc,” with a number of the survivors of that truly miraculous assault straight up a 150-foot cliff sitting on the front row. There is a video of that speech and every time I watch it I realize anew that it represents the very essence of what Memorial Day is all about. I have been trying to read everything I can get my hands on about this particular part of D-Day, and every time I find something else, I learn about one or more miracles which took place that day; courage and bravery beyond mere words. They were The Boys of Pointe du Hoc. Thank God for them. And all their Brothers in Arms.

As I assume this column is behind the WSJ paywall, here are a few of the passages which relate to the miraculous climb straight up those cliffs and the President’s remarks on the 40th Anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1944:

Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. Selfless Service: D-Day

 

Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., was the first American general to wade ashore at Normandy, cane in one hand, pistol in the other. The eldest son of President Teddy Roosevelt, he was 56 in 1944. He had crippling arthritis and heart disease. But, he used all his political pull to get back in uniform, after Pearl Harbor, and back to the front lines. So it was that he landed on the beaches of Normandy.

He was in the first wave, saw they were a mile off course, and started marching up and down the beach barking useful orders. Men got moving inland off the beach and the Navy and Army brass were informed of the glitch, so they could adjust execution of the plan. For this action, Brigadier General Roosevelt was awarded the Medal of Honor—posthumously. He died of heart disease  a few weeks and a number of miles after the beaches. Consider that he had already “done his duty” in World War I, and that his son was also on the beach, a son named after another Roosevelt brother who had died as an aviator over France in the Great War. With all that in mind, consider this:

For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 6 June 1944, in France. After 2 verbal requests to accompany the leading assault elements in the Normandy invasion had been denied, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt’s written request for this mission was approved and he landed with the first wave of the forces assaulting the enemy-held beaches. He repeatedly led groups from the beach, over the seawall and established them inland. His valor, courage, and presence in the very front of the attack and his complete unconcern at being under heavy fire inspired the troops to heights of enthusiasm and self-sacrifice. Although the enemy had the beach under constant direct fire, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt moved from one locality to another, rallying men around him, directed and personally led them against the enemy. Under his seasoned, precise, calm, and unfaltering leadership, assault troops reduced beach strong points and rapidly moved inland with minimum casualties. He thus contributed substantially to the successful establishment of the beachhead in France.

Sidebars of History: D-Day as It Happened

 

shutterstock_238061590It is 12:30 AM Eastern War Time. Outside of London, where the British have instituted “Double Summer Time,” it is 6:30. A German refugee working for the Associated Press is monitoring the shortwave transmissions of the Nazis. His ears perk up and he quickly sends out what he’s heard. By 12:37, it’s moved across the entire AP wire.

NBC is carrying dance music on its East Coast feed and on the West Coast, where it’s only in the 9 o’clock hour of June 5th, they’re airing a mostly forgotten weekly drama from San Francisco called Hawthorne House. The on-duty announcer in New York interrupts programming to read the AP bulletin.

Member Post

 

As a faithful follower of  The Daily Shot – “TODAY IN HISTORY”  (which I post to my FB page) I was troubled by your failure to mention D-Day. Today, June 6th, 2017, is the 73rd anniversary of the Allied Invasion of the European continent, D-Day. I understand that your “Today in History” is intended to highlight unknown […]

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Remembering D-Day

 

shutterstock_238057456June 6 marks the anniversary of that Day of Days in 1944 when the Allies began the historic invasion of Nazi-occupied France. At great cost in blood and treasure, and with no certainty of victory, the armies, navies, and air forces of the free world concentrated their efforts in a heroic attempt to get a foothold in coastal France from which to repel the Nazi invaders.

We all know how that ended but on the eve of the invasion things looked grim enough that General Dwight D. Eisenhower prepared a statement for release in the event the invasion failed. Here is a roundup of some excellent links to remind us of the bravery, heroism, and sacrifice of those men — mostly very young men — who laid it all on the line on this day 72 years ago so that others might live free.

Order of the Day issued by Gen. Eisenhower on D-Day. It reads in part:

Member Post

 

Last June 6th we explored how radio and broadcast news came of age with the Allied invasion of Normandy. But what of the woman behind the man at H-Hour? John Sheldon Doud had made a fortune in the meat packing industry in Iowa. He was so successful that he was able to retire at age […]

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A “What If” Memorial Day

 
shutterstock_238056778

General George Washington with his army at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania during the winter of 1777- 1778, from the Valley Forge Historical Society

The news could not have been worse. Starvation, malnutrition, diseases such as typhoid, smallpox, dysentery, and pneumonia, along with freezing temperatures that assaulted thousands of shoeless feet bloodying the snow, attached to bands of “walking skeletons” exposed to the elements by threadbare garments—all combined to claim 2500 lives from General Washington’s army of 12,000 Continentals, who struggled through their encampment at Valley Forge during the 1777-78 Winter. One bitter soldier wrote, “Poor food — hard lodging — Cold Weather — fatigue — Nasty Cloaths — nasty Cookery — Vomit half my time — smoak’d out of my senses — the Devil’s in it — I can’t endure it — Why are we sent here to starve and freeze…?”