D-Day anniversary

Today is the anniversary of one of the largest invasions ever to take place. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers on both sides fought in what the allies called “Operation Overlord.”

I was a part of the 29th, a unit that took part in the invasion of Nazi occupied Europe. This was not a move that was guaranteed to succeed. Men were crammed in small, dangerous landing craft and ran a gauntlet of mines, artillery and machine gun fire just to get to the beach where the doors would open up exposing the troops inside. There was no where to go but forward. I cannot imagine the sacrifice these men went through. My little battle in Iraq was nothing compared to what these heroes suffered. Nothing I can do can show sufficient gratitude for what they accomplished. These men pushed through France, freeing it from the Nazis and on to Germany where they liberated death camps. War is never a good thing, but in this case it was necessary.
“You are about to embark upon the great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months.” – General Eisenhower. He also had a statement ready to read in case the invasion failed.

American, British, Canadian, Scottish and French troops all took part. There are so many stories from this day, the day of days, that I couldn’t begin to tell them all here. There was Captain Winters from Band of Brothers, French nuns who tended the wounded, nameless men who helped their fellow soldiers get off the killing beaches, the men who fought and died, each with a story to tell. An estimated 12,000 allies died that day, each one was a brother, son, or husband to someone else. Each one is my hero.

I’ll end with a quote from Winston Churchill about what was at stake this day.
“If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their Finest Hour.’

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4 comments on “D-Day anniversary

  1. george hill says:

    Thanks for this fine essay on this world-changing day.Too few remember.

  2. Glelnda Hill says:

    So few of the younger generation have a clue what these men went through. You can ask most young people today, what the war was about, and few would know. If they don’t know who the Vice President of the United States, is, there is no hope they would know about or understand the sacrifices made. Any one who chooses to serve our country, is a hero to me. That would be you too Zach. Let us all remember them, the unknown names and lives, of those who didn’t come home, or came home with the memories, of the hell they lived in for such a long time. Thanks for the post Zach. It was very well done.

  3. Joe in PNG says:

    And, amazingly enough, the next day, after the horrors they had faced, they got up and did it again.

  4. There are so many individual stories about WWII no one knows about. My best friend’s uncle was at Pearl Harbor and was trapped in one of the ships that went down, but fortunately he was rescued, but had to leave behind many of his fellow sailors. He almost drank himself to death later in life while trying to overcome the horror he saw. My own grandfather was in the Navy during WWII and he was committed to a VA mental hospital and given shock treatments to help him over come the stuff he encountered during the war. Its hard to compare our everyday trials to those who’ve been through a war. It keeps things in prospective.

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