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Posts Tagged ‘D-Day Invasion’

Remembering D-Day and “those who sacrificed to liberate a continent”

Posted by Dr. Fay on June 6, 2012

Governor Palin honored in her tweet today “those who sacrificed to liberate a continent. “

As this introduction from the History.com article about D-Day indicates, the invasion of Normandy on what has come to be known as D-Day, was indeed the beginning of the liberation of Europe from Nazi Germany.

During World War II (1939-1945), the Battle of Normandy, which lasted from June 1944 to August 1944, resulted in the Allied liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control. Codenamed Operation Overlord, the battle began on June 6, 1944, also known as D-Day, when some 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region. The invasion was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history and required extensive planning. Prior to D-Day, the Allies conducted a large-scale deception campaign designed to mislead the Germans about the intended invasion target. By late August 1944, all of northern France had been liberated, and by the following spring the Allies had defeated the Germans. The Normandy landings have been called the beginning of the end of war in Europe.

Army.Mil has a slideshow of actual photos from the battle front as well as a lot of other information about D-Day, including this transcript from General Eisenhower’s speech prior to the invasion:

General Dwight D. Eisenhower in his dress uniform

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon a 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, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory!

Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

— Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

On the 40th anniversary of the Allies’ invasion of Normandy, Ronald Reagan gave a memorable speech,  as described by the The History Place in its Great Speeches Collection:

Standing on the very spot on the northern coast of France where Allied soldiers had stormed ashore to liberate Europe from the yoke of Nazi tyranny, President Ronald Reagan spoke these words to an audience of D-Day veterans and world leaders. They were gathered at the site of the U.S. Ranger Monument at Pointe du Hoc. Following this speech, the President unveiled memorial plaques to the 2nd and 5th U.S. Army Ranger Battalions. The President and Mrs. Reagan then greeted each of the veterans. Other Allied countries represented at the ceremony by their heads of state and government were: Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands, King Olav V of Norway, King Baudouin I of Belgium, Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg, and Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau of Canada.

Video retrieved from 

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Ronald Reagan: These Are The Boys Of Point-du-Hoc, A D-Day Remembrance

Posted by Gary P Jackson on June 6, 2010

I came across this wonderfully produced video several years back. Wyatt McIntyre, the creator, says it was his first attempt at editing. All I can say is he captured the very essence of the events surrounding the greatest amphibious assault in human history, and the turning point of WWII. The beginning of the end.

The speech, delivered as only Ronald Reagan could, was given on June 6, 1984, the 40th anniversary of the Normandy invasion. President Reagan was standing at Point du Hoc with the surviving Rangers who defied certain death and scaled those cliffs, defeating the Germans.

It’s rather bittersweet, that as we remember this great triumph of good over evil, that we must also remember that we lost Ronald Reagan on June 5, 2004. Listening to this great speech, we remember why he is so missed.

There will no doubt be any number of WWII flicks on television honoring those who fought on this day in history, but if you don’t watch any other movie,  watch Darryl F. Zanuck’s masterpiece, The Longest Day. This is a big movie, told from both the Allied and German point of view. It has an all star cast, and is one of the best WWII movies ever made.

As you go through your day, remember these great heroes who fought on the beaches of Normandy. Many died so that we remain free today. It’s easy to sit back and take it all for granted, but on this day, the 6th of June, 1944, the entire world was in peril, and victory was still a long way away, and not at all certain. We own these men everything. We must never let their memory fade. 

This really doesn’t have anything to do with D-Day, but it is so moving, nonetheless. Everyone knows the Star Spangled Banner, but how many know the part we sing is only the first of  four verses?

This Marine knew, and simply stunned the audience at a recent Tea Party event:

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Here’s the entire poem, as written by Francis Scott Key:

First Verse

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air
Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say, does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Second Verse

On the shore dimly seen, thro’ the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines in the stream;
‘Tis the Star-Spangled Banner, Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Third Verse

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Fourth Verse

Oh, thus be it ever when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto, “In God is our trust”
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave! 

Video and verse courtesy of The Right Scoop

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