Today is the 73rd anniversary of D-Day.
I think often of this date. Why? Because the world I have come to know could be very different had D-Day not been successful. Of course success doesn’t mean it was easy. Thousands of lives lost in a single day. Some never even reached the beaches of occupied France.
People think of World War 2 in different lights. It mostly depends on which area of the world you find yourself in. But there is no denying one thing. Hitler was a dictator. A dictator with an enormous following. A dictator with enormous resources at his disposal. A dictator with allies.
All it takes is a simple Google search to realize the immense amount of land that came under Nazi control. Just take a look at continental Europe. Now imagine it being nearly all under Nazi control.
I cannot say this enough. Hitler would have never been content with controlling continental Europe. Japan was expanding in the east and the next logical target for Germany would have been further west. After the UK, which somehow managed to remain free of occupation during the war, an invasion of the US would have been inevitable. AN INVASION OF THE US. It’s a statement you can’t help but gasp at.
But guess what? The generations before us didn’t have to endure that reality. Due in large part to the efforts of the men and women who participated in the events of D-Day.
We tend to forget things rather quickly in the era of social media. But we can’t. Not this. Not ever. We’re fast approaching the time in which we’ll have no more active participants from World War 2. Every man and woman from the war deserves our deepest gratitude for standing up for so much more than a flag or a government. They stood up for freedom. They stood up for those who had been betrayed by their own countrymen. And they stood up for what is right in a world full of evil.
Today, like all days, we should remember the immense sacrifices of those who came before us. D-Day stands out among the days we tend to forget, but I refuse to.
Today is the 72nd anniversary of the Allied invasion of German-held France. It remains the largest amphibious invasion in recorded history.
Today is a day that should remind us that freedom is not free. More than 150,000 men and women from various Allied countries helped achieve victory on D-Day and in the days and months after.
The Allied casualties suffered were astronomical with most estimates putting the figure at a minimum of 10,000 soldiers. But the invasion was the result of months of planning and any delay would likely prolong the war in the European theater.
Some might argue that there had to be a better way to invade western Europe than to put so many at risk by storming the beaches of France, and I have a response to those who may think that. In 1944 Germany was on the defensive. Italy had been invaded. The Russians were pushing them further west. The opportunity to invade France was likely as ideal as it would ever be.
D-Day was a definitive turning point in the worst war the world has ever known, and the men and women who took part have earned our undying respect and gratitude for taking the fight to evil and coming out victorious.
June 6, 1944 is forever etched into my memory.
My lone hope is that I never have to live during a time in which such an event must happen again. We’re all human, and as of right now this is the only planet we have. More time spent helping people would better serve the human race rather than killing them.
On this day some 71 years ago, many men pressed forward toward the coasts of France knowing that it would be their last. These men did not cower in the face of nearly impossible odds. They did what needed doing, and looked death straight in the eye. Some were taken and others were spared. But every man, living and not, changed the course of the war by storming those beaches. Every man, living and not, changed the course of human history. Every man, living and not, deserves our respect and admiration. Every man, living and not, did something that 99.99 percent of us simply could not do. We are indebted to every man who took part in the events of D-Day on June 6, 1944. Let’s not forget it.
On this day in 2014 I wrote more extensively about the events of D-Day in my post Something More Important Than Books.
My Saturday Selects post will publish tomorrow.