Friday, June 6, marks the 70th anniversary of one of the most noted days in the history of our nation, D-Day. In fact, let’s change that thought for a second. It really marks the 70th anniversary of one of the most noted days in the history of the world.
On that date in 1944, the Allies launched the invasion of Normandy, France, occupied by Germany at the time. Codenamed Operation Neptune, troops took part in the largest seaborne invasion in history, restored that territory to France and contributed heavily to victory in World War II.
Though violent and bloody, this was not an operation without thought and planning behind it. The assault had to take place on a day with suitable conditions, such as tide and available light. There was maneuvering by Allied troops in other locations to throw the scent off their true intentions to the Germans, so the beaches would not be fortified any more than they already were.
Once planned, it came down to brave individuals charging onto a foreign beach while being hit with mortars and gunfire. Turning back was not an option, and the beach does not afford a lot of natural protection to duck into to get one’s bearings right.
No, this was about heart and determination and the will to make the world a safer place.
Consider the possibilities if the Allies did not win this war, and consider the impact this had in regards to victory. Had the Allies lost, France might not have ever gotten their country back and the German forces would have been able to continue to grow and get more dug in the longer they held position. What had already been a dreadfully violent war with unthinkable amounts of casualties, could have been far worse, and the war could have ultimately been lost, with Germany and Japan gaining more territory.
The entire world could be different today.
Though 70 years is indeed a long time, we are still blessed to have many people with us in this very community who served our nation during World War II. If you know one, thank him or her for their selflesness and courage. If you don’t, walk up to one of those older gentlemen we all see at the grocery store, wearing their hats displaying their service to this country, and say thank you.
We all owe them more than a thanks could repay, but it’s a pretty good start.