Tag: D-Day

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:

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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.

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Member Post

 

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 […]

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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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Member Post

 

Just watched the excellent Netflix 3-part documentary, Five Came Back on filmmakers Frank Capra, John Huston, John Ford, George Stevens and William Wyler who left Hollywood to lend their expertise to educate and to boost American morale as well as document the conflict and horror of WWII. With commentary from Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro, […]

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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.

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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…?”

Why, indeed? Desertions were rife — “astonishing,” according to one observer — and mutterings of mutiny escaped from cracked lips of desperate, shivering volunteers, many of whom vowed to liberate themselves from their confinement as soon as their enlistments were up. Rumors of replacing General Washington were whispered in some ears — was there a conspiracy lurking in this misery? Finally, a detachment from the Continental Congress showed up to query the good general about what was going on. Washington exploded: “I’ve been leading this band of rabble under the worst conditions imaginable against the most powerful country the world has ever seen, and you have the unbridled impudence to question my leadership? That’s it, I’m done, I resign!” And he stomped off in fury, mounted his horse, and galloped away. Within three months, the British attacked what was left of the garrison, and the Americans’ aborted attempt to gain their independence and secure their rights for themselves and their posterity was quashed. History took a different, and very uncertain turn.

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The D-Day That Wasn’t

 

Ike-8aWhile Peter and Jeff are rightfully reminding us of the legacy of D-Day on its 70th anniversary, here’s a different angle from which to consider the commemoration: what didn’t happen.

As Jeff noted in his earlier post, the number of unforeseen variables were legion. That tends to be the case in wartime, and especially in an undertaking of this scale and complexity. Thankfully, it wasn’t enough to thwart our efforts … but what if it had?

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Sword, Juno, Utah, Omaha, Gold

 

D-DayEach June 6th, those words leap to the front of one’s consciousness. They were the code names of the five most important beaches in the history of the United States — and the free world. (Ok. The men who landed on Iwo, Tarawa, Guam, Saipan and dozens of others in the Pacific might argue that point).

Seventy years ago, the largest armada ever assembled crossed the Channel from England headed for Normandy. It was called “Operation Overlord” and it almost didn’t take place.

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Member Post

 

A few days ago Antipodius posted two contrasting videos of President Bush and President Obama addressing West Point. It struck me at the time how those graduates were able to hold their tongues (and their applause) as the current President gave a speech trying to convince us all that he’s not weak. Really, just ask […]

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