06 June 2014

Friday Follies: D-Day Edition...
Greetings everyone to another weekend out here in the Hoosierland.
And welcome to POST NUMBER 2100...!
How the hell did THIS happen?
(loose the pigeons and sound the trumpets)
Has it been this many already?
How time does fly.
Today's sunrise is another one of those worthy of praise, that's for sure.
Temps will reach to around 80 degrees and no real humidity to speak of.
That is a great way to start ANY day...or weekend, is it not?
So, pour a nice big cup of your favorite morning beverage as we get cracking on what is going on.
*** First ( and last) out of the maelstrom today...it is the 70th Anniversary of Operation Overlord, better known as the D-Day invasion of Europe.
Where several hundred YARDS seems like MILES.
You can read the WIKI about it HERE:
The actual term "D-Day" has had other connotations as can be found HERE:
And for ALL the information in greater detail, there is THIS site from the U.S. Army:
(this is really good)
Or, you can check out my archival posts from previous years.
When I was born back in 1952, I was only EIGHT years out from the Normandy Invasion, and whenever I stop and think about it that way, I am in awe of what was done, and how soon after that war some of us came into being.
There were so many men who came back from that war and just went back into what we would consider "normal" life...they started families, went to work, created small businesses, and so on, never talking much about the war, or their part in it.
Basically, they came, they saw, they kicked Axis ass...and then came home to their families and lives.
Omaha beach
Many others did not, and it's to THOSE men that we mostly commemorate this day in THEIR honor.
There are those who returned and would wonder why THEY were spared on June 6, 1944, when many of their comrades didn't even make it to the beaches, and to them I would say that YOU have survived to tell the story of those that gave all in the preservation of freedom and the eradication of tyranny throughout the world.
And it certainly is a story that NEEDS telling...often.
One can read books about this day and the events preceding it and following it, and one can also watch movies or TV shows that depict what went on 70 years ago, but to have those that lived through it talk about it, is both riveting and bone-chilling at the same time.
Gen. Eisenhower addresses airborne troops
-- It was General Robert E. Lee  who once said  that "It is well that war is terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it."
-- General William Tecumseh Sherman stated that "War is hell."
-- John Adams said that "I must study politics and war so that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy."
-- General George Patton stated that "The object of war is not to die for your country, but to make the other bastard die for HIS country."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower noted that "We are going to have peace even if we have to fight for it."
There are MANY more quotes regarding war, both pro and con.
Suffice it to say that on June 6, 1944, the allies were left with few options in stopping the enemy in Europe...an invasion of the continent was the only way to get it done in the least amount of time.
A small part of "The Devil's Garden"
And the operation, for the most part went well. Rommel had been led to believe that any amphibious landing would occur at CALAIS, and not Normandy, but Rommel was not one to take chances.
Here is a look at all the defensive measures he took:
He reinforced the beaches AT Normandy with numerous traps, mines and had 88MM field guns placed behind the beachfront to rain hell down on anyone attempting to storm those beaches.
With those static emplacements and obstacles there, he felt there was no need to keep panzer units on scene, so they were moved to Calais, where the "real" invasion might come.
Weather was a factor, as the Germans felt that only a fool would attack in bad weather, which it had been...enough to postpone the attack on Normandy ONE day.
A window of opportunity opened up (as did the skies) and the allies moved out across the Channel.
Preceding this was an airborne assault by allied elements that included the 82nd and 101st airborne. Their mission was to disrupt enemy communications and otherwise cause havoc while the beachhead was taken by regular army and Ranger units.
82nd Airborne Division
Even Eisenhower wasn't convinced this would work,and had prepared a letter acknowledging the "defeat", should it occur.
Thankfully, it was never needed.
Many think of the Normandy Invasion as ONE HUGE attack, and although the MAIN battles took place along 5 beaches on that coastline, there were numerous OTHER battles taking place that all aided in the complete victory by the allied forces. 
Hitting the beaches at Omaha and Utah
THOSE stories are worth a read, because they add a layer of depth and scope to what transpired that day in ways you would never know, had you not read about them.
Usually, there are commemorative magazines by the score that chronicle those stories, and the big box bookstores should have them readily available.
You could also find them online, but it's harder to locate, because you don't know what you're looking for.
Let us just say that we owe a huge debt to all those that were present that day in 1944, willing to walk through the gates of hell for liberty's sake.
American cemetery - Normandy, France
And it's at that point were mere words fail to convey such appreciation for the sacrifices made 70 years ago, and just HOW pivotal an event this was to become in human history.
Perhaps all the grave markers for the fallen can speak when we cannot.
THEY are the real story and the REAL reason we are free today.
May none of them ever be forgotten...and always remembered.
DO have yourselves a good weekend.
Be well, make a difference to someone today, and as always...
Stay SAFE out there, America.


CWMartin said...

“It takes twenty years or more of peace to make a man; it takes only twenty seconds of war to destroy him.”

― Baudouin I King of Belgium

Did you see the Normandy vet on the news last night that France paid for him and a class of students (he was a retired Principal) to go over? He got a real celebration thrown for him. Made him cry, made me cry.

Bob G. said...

That is a very good quote...and all too true.
I missed that spot on TV, but things such as that make me PROUD to be an American. And I'm sure that vet and his students will have memories to last all their lives.
That's a very touching thing to do...and to have FRANCE doing it makes it all the more special.
Nice to know that some never DO forget.

Hey, thanks for swinging by to comment.
Have a good weekend and stay safe up there.