Remembering D-Day on the 75th Anniversary

“We’re here to mark that day in history when the Allied armies joined in

battle to reclaim this continent for liberty. Here, in Normandy, the rescue

began.  Here, the Allies stood and fought against tyranny, in a giant under-

taking unparalleled in human history.”

President Ronald Reagan, Speech at Normandy, June 6, 1984 (50th Ann.)


“They (Americans) came, wave after wave, without question, without

hesitation.  More powerful than the strength of American arms was the

strength of American hearts.  These men ran through the fires of Hell,

moved by a force no weapon could destroy: the fierce patriotism of a

free, proud, and sovereign people.”

President Donald Trump, Speech at Normandy, June 6, 2019 (75th Ann.)


Backed by the exceptional armaments innovation and production of American industry, on that June day, revered by free nations of the West, with more than a thousand aircraft ready to rain-down roughly 17,000 Allied paratroopers onto occupied French soil at night, and several thousand Allied ships awaiting at dawn to bring well over one-hundred-thousand American, British, and Canadian warriors to the fight, the liberation of Nazi-occupied Europe began, in earnest, on the beaches of Normandy this date.  And with it, courage and carnage of epic proportions, as young men, largely in their late teens, stormed ashore into the face of immense resistance from heavily-armed, dug-in enemy forces, intent on stopping the invasion right there on the beaches. And the sheer number of our dead and wounded, on that fateful day, makes the compelling case for just how close they might have come.

Coming quickly to mind, among those many officers and NCO’s determined to get their troops off those beaches, especially Omaha, were the amazing U.S. Army Rangers who somehow were able to climb up that sheer cliff at Point du Hoc, while enemy machine gunners rained continuous fire down upon them.  Their daring, do or die feat, came at a huge price.  History tells us that of the approximately 225 Rangers who attempted to reach that summit on an incredibly dangerous climb, and then after two additional days of constant combat, only about 90 of these great men could still join with their brothers in the fight (60% killed, wounded, or missing).

According to the History Channel, there were 4,414 Allied deaths on D-Day, of which 2,501 were Americans.  If wounded are included, the number is much, much higher. According to the National World War II Museum, American deaths in World War II, overall, totaled almost 417,000 (1941-1945).

Returning freedom to the large number of Western and Eastern European nations suffering under the brutal fist of Nazi tyranny was clearly necessary, both to set millions of oppressed people free, but also to stop German’s occupation desires from spreading even further (as with Japanese domination plans in the Far East).  None the less, the cost of liberty was incredibly steep in terms of American and Allied lives lost or seriously wounded.

Heaven is claiming more of our heroic World War II veterans every day.  We owe those still living, and in memory, those veterans deceased, our everlasting gratitude and admiration.  And especially on this date, June 6, 2019, for the raw courage it took, for our soldiers, sailors, airman, and coast guardsmen, (piloted the landing craft to the beaches), to face the risk and trauma of invading the French coast in the face of enemy fire that would continue to threaten them, from the beaches (perhaps the worst concentration) all the way into Germany and eventual surrender.

Thank you, brave World War II men and women (nurses) of America, living and deceased.  You make us proud of your daring and commitment, looking back on both this date in 1944, and all the formidable combat days that followed.  D-Day observances have served to remind us, again, of your amazing, life-risking deeds in service to America, to your buddies, and to millions of others around the world unknown.  Of that, we must never forget.