D-Day: Seventy-Five Years Ago

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Seventy-Five years ago what General Eisenhower called The Great Crusade began:

 

 

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.

 

In the event D-Day did not fail. 2,499 Americans and 1,915 from Great Britain, Canada and the other Allied Powers, paid the ultimate price for the victory gained that day.  They deserve to be remembered for helping to remove a terrible evil from the world three-quarters of a century ago.

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One Comment

  1. An Unauthorized D Day Mission:
    My dad, a meteorologist, was one of the forecasters for D Day.
    Since the Commanding General of the First Combat Wing wanted to observe the bombings and the invasion he called down to the duty CO of the 91st Bombardment Group at Bassingbourn and asked if there were an aircraft and a skeleton crew to take him across the Channel. The only B-17 lnot on the mission was an old G model (“Old Faithful”) that was used for transition and practice missions. It had no bombs or guns or ammunition. The skeleton crew included an Engineer, a Tail Gunner, my dad as the Weather Observer and Navigator, the Duty CO as Pilot, and the general as Co-Pilot. They found their bomber group, saw them drop their bombs and were ready to head back when to the crew’s surprise the general had the course set for the invasion and they descended through the clouds to the beaches, a forbidden area. Flying parallel to the beach flak started coming from the USN ships off shore and the Germans. The general then decided he had seen enough and the Flying Fortress turned and headed home. On the way back Luftwaffe fighters rolled in on them but the plane flew into the clouds. Luckily there were no wounded, although on the ground minor flak damage to the aircraft were discovered. The general thanked the crew and departed. It was later heard on the grapevine that the general was verbally reprimanded for an unauthorized mission with no bombs, no guns, no ammunition and no credit for the mission.
    When the family travelled with dad to Europe in the 60s we took us to every beach and we saw the German pill boxes and other fortifications. We also visited every military cemetery in that area. It was very sobering for ten and twelve year olds to see what seemed to be miles of crosses.
    When Saving Private Ryan came out, dad refused to see the movie. He said he saw it in person.

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