73 Years Later, Still Can’t Forget

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.

Advertisements

What December 7th Means to me

I was born in 1991 nearly five decades to the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. So everything I think about that day has been learned over the course of my 25 years, but long after the attack.

To me, December 7, 1941 is one of the turning points in human history. And I don’t say this lightly. The attack on Pearl Harbor was a pointless and cowardly act that didn’t need to happen. A formal declaration of war would have forced the USA into WWII just the same.

But back to my original point. Why do I give such importance to that single day? It’s simple. The worst armed conflict in human history was not going well. It was going horribly wrong, as a matter of fact. On that fateful December day everything changed. Thousands of American lives were lost. The Pacific fleet was no longer the threat it was intended to be. But the American hand was forced. War was immediately declared, and the Americans were coming.

I still haven’t finished my point about the date in history. It’s a turning point because the United States had not used its might to change the war’s outcome one way or the other. There’s no doubt in my mind that FDR would have eventually asked Congress to make a formal declaration of war had Pearl Harbor never happened. Why do I think this? Because it wasn’t in the interest of the USA to sit back and allow Japan and Germany to continue to conquer lands. But there’s no way of knowing how long he’d have waited. There’s no way of knowing how much longer the war would have lasted. There’s no way of knowing how many more casualties there would have been. There’s no way of knowing if the Allies would have been able to come out victorious  I think many people take for granted that the Allies would have won the war no matter what, but I don’t. I’m not certain D-Day ever happens if Pearl Harbor doesn’t.

The other dates in recent history that stand on par with December 7, 1941 are June 6, 1944 because it was an actual turning point in the war and September 11, 2001 because the entire world looked at terrorism differently.

December 7 should be a national holiday or at least studied extensively in every class on this single day. Americans of all ages should learn as much as possible about this date that, in my opinion, significantly changed history.

D-Day

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.

Something More Important than Books

NormandySupply_edit

Today is the 70th anniversary of something, do you know what it is? I hope so, if not, well whatever.

Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Please tell me you at least know the very basic premise of what happened now that I’ve said that. It was the start of the Allied invasion of France via the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944 during World War II. I believe it is still to this day the largest amphibious invasion in history.

You’re probably wondering why I decided to post about this and not something about books today. I’m doing so because there are some events that we need not forget. Who doesn’t know about Lexington and Concord? Or Independence Day. Or Gettysburg. Or President Lincoln’s assassination. Or Pearl Harbor. Or September 11. As far as American history is concerned, the events that took place on the dates I’ve mentioned are as unforgettable as it gets. And there are others, but the point is that no one really considers D-Day to be one of these dates that should never go unknown to any generation.

If you’re one of those people who doesn’t know what happened that day or maybe you’ve never even heard the date, then I ask that you do one thing that will give you just a little perspective. Take a look at this map of Nazi Germany. Just about the whole of Continental Europe is under their control.

WWII War Map

Imagine that. A single foreign power having the ability to take over an entire continent, and Europe at that. The thing that people may not realize is that had just a couple of events gone differently during the course of the war, if Churchill had surrendered rather than watch London destroyed day after day, or Hitler had sent his men into Moscow to take over the capital rather than into Stalingrad in an apparent ego trip, then who knows what might have come next. If you know a little about the war like I do, then you know Churchill never surrendered even with London in ruins and the Red Army was able to stop Germany’s advance once the cold Russian winter hit. Had these two events played out differently and Hitler faced no more resistance in Europe, then an invasion of America would be inevitable. You’re probably thinking Pearl Harbor happened. That wasn’t an invasion. That was an attack with a very specific purpose, destroy the Pacific fleet.

But this post isn’t meant to be a history lesson because I know some of you will already know all of this. The invasion of France on D-day only happened because the Allies decided that Stalin had to become their ally if the war was to be won. According to what I’ve read, he agreed to help the Allies with Japan while the Allies agreed to help him with Germany, thus the invasion of German occupied France. This was the turning point of all turning points in any war. The invasion would not be called off and massive casualties were expected, but it was either this or let Hitler run wild and do whatever he wanted.

Very long story short, the invasion was successful and the Allies made their way across Europe over the course of the next ten months, ultimately ending the war with Germany. And of course the war with Japan a few months later by dropping the first and only nuclear bombs in history.

Now you might be wondering why I believe you all should know about this. Because it’s an historic event in the course of all human history, not just for Germany or France or the UK or the United States, but for everyone. The world would no doubt be a different place had the invasion been unsuccessful. It would have been a debilitating loss for the Allies that may not have allowed for another attempt to enter continental Europe for years into the future.

One last point that I want to make for you guys. Have you ever taken a look at the list of federal holidays? If not, you can do so here. You’ll find that there are only two holidays that are religious, right? Christmas and Thanksgiving. These should not be included on the list and should be on the list of other religious holidays that are recognized by the government, but not necessarily federal holidays. Why? Because what about the whole separation of church and State? But I guess it doesn’t apply to major Christian holidays. Anyway, these should be taken off the list and three should be added. June 6, September 11, and December 7. D-Day, the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and the day a foreign power attacked America. Every one of these dates represents a moment in our nation’s history that should not be forgotten.

I’ve read that the most accurate depiction of what took place on the beaches of Normandy may be the opening sequence from the movie Saving Private Ryan. Skip to the 5:00 mark and it’ll put you at the start of the fighting. I warn you, it’s graphic.

Photo Credits: Do You Know About

Wikipedia