“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…I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle.”~ Dwight D. Eisenhower
During World War II , a few months before June, Operation Bodyguard was happening. Its goal was to convince Adolf Hitler that a massive allied landing was to take place at Pas-de-Calais, North of Normandy, France. It worked. Along with the weather and two other operations, Operation Glimmer and Operation Taxable to distract German forces, the largest amphibious military assault in history took place.
The date was Tuesday, 6 June 1944, the time was 6:30 British Double Summer Time and is, today, known as D-Day. The Normandy landings, codenamed Operation Neptune, were the landing operations of the Allied invasion of Normandy, in Operation Overlord. The original day planned for the assault was the 5th but bad weather prevented the landing. The plan went ahead on the 6th and that same bad weather (although was predicted to be good weather) helped with the surprise and the taking of Normandy.
By dawn on June 6, thousands of paratroopers and glider troops were already behind enemy lines, securing bridges and exit roads. The amphibious invasions began at 6:30 a.m. The British and Canadians captured beaches codenamed Gold, Juno and Sword. Americans captured Utah Beach, but faced heavy resistance at Omaha Beach, where there were over 2,000 American casualties.By the day’s end, though, 156,000 Allied troops had successfully taken Normandy’s beaches.
D-Day was the beginning of the end of World War II and the cost for that day can be counted in the deaths of the very brave warriors who were there. The US National D-Day Memorial Foundation have recorded the names of individual Allied personnel killed on 6 June 1944 in Operation Overlord, and so far they have verified 2499 American D-Day fatalities and 1915 from the other Allied nations, a total of 4414 dead. Of course, this figure does not include those who were injured.
It was those brave troops from the US., United Kingdom, Canada, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Poland, that turned the tide of the war in favor of the allies. Take a moment today to reflect on that. It may seem like along time ago and maybe you have never met anyone who fought int his war., but take a moment to ponder. Ponder the what if. What if those brave men decided not to fight, to take those beaches. What would your life be like right now? Take a moment, a brief pause and be grateful.
“Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.” ~ Ronald Reagan