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.
Amazon is in hot water right now. The website has Holocaust denial books listed for sale.
This is difficult for me to defend at all. Some might say free speech. Others might say history. But is it okay to sale a book most likely branding itself as fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth?
I’m not sure where this falls on the list of issues facing the company, but it’s mist definitely an issue. I’d argue Holocaust denial is one of the most dangerous things we encounter as humans. Why? Because it opens the door to repeat history. To repeat a major aspect of the worst armed conflict the world has ever known.
I have a wristband I bought at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum last year when I visited DC. It says “What you do matters.” Take note, Amazon. Because what you do matters.
I’ve worn that wristband everyday since I bought it. To remind myself that my voice and actions are important to ensure that we never go back to our worst days as humans.
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.
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.