The D-Day we remember was 71 year ago today.
The Normandy landings (codenamed Operation Neptune) were the landing operations on 6 June 1944 (termed D-Day) of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. The largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the invasion of German-occupied western Europe, led to the liberation of France from Nazi control, and contributed to the Allied victory.
Let us never forget that day.
The Allies had deliberately mislead the Germans about when and where the main invasion was going to be, so the primary German defenses were elsewhere. Nevertheless, the Allies were met with extremely serious resistance as they waded ashore from their landing craft on the day we now know as D-Day.
The weather was bad, but postponing the invasion would have meant a delay of at least two weeks. The tide and even the phase of the moon had to be right, so only a few days each month were suitable.
24,000 British, US, and Canadian airborne troops landed shortly after midnight. Amphibious landings began at 6:30 am. The beach was mined and covered with barbed wire and other obstacles to hinder invasion.
Special tanks, nicknamed Hobart’s Funnies, had been designed just for this day. They were needed to deal with conditions expected during the campaign, including scaling seawalls and providing support on the beach.
Generals Eisenhower and Montgomery first saw the plan on December 31, 1943. It proposed landing on May 1, 1944, with three divisions and two more standing by. Both Generals immediately insisted all five divisions take part in the invasion, with airborne support by three additional divisions. More landing craft had to be built, so the invasion was delayed until June 6.
Eventually, over a million American, British, Canadian, Polish, and French troops were committed to the Battle of Normandy. There were about 1,000 German casualties that first D-Day. There were at least 10,000 Allied casualties with 4,414 confirmed dead.
It is almost trite to say these men fought and died for our freedom. But they did. Without their sacrifice, many of us would never have been born and the rest would be speaking German. Not only in the US, but probably worldwide. It was the biggest war ever fought, and it could have easily gone the other way.
Nazi Germany was an aggressive, technological war machine.
Hitler’s Nazi forces had already overrun France and most of Europe and were invading Russia. They had developed powerful rockets (which we didn’t have yet) and were bombing England with them on a daily basis. Fortunately for the United States, they couldn’t reach us. They were near to building an atom bomb before we did.
Hitler intended to take over the entire world and slaughter all the remaining Jews and anybody who opposed him. Without these heroes, he could have done it. It’s popular to talk about how bad things are, but they could have been a lot worse!
Let us not lose that freedom now. Make your voice, your actions, and your votes count to protect our First Amendment Freedom of Speech and all our other human rights. Begin by refusing to let “hate speech” be outlawed.
Speech we like needs no protection; Freedom of Speech is for speech we don’t like. If “they” can’t say what they want to today, neither will you and I be able to tomorrow.