The Last Army Diver...
D-Day Plus 65 Years

A Struggle to Preserve Our Republic...The 65th Anniversary of D-Day

[This post is bumped up to the top and will be kept at the top of the blog through tomorrow]

    "In the final choice, a soldier's pack is not so heavy a burden as a prisoner's chains." - General Dwight D. Eisenhower

On June 6th, 1944, over 150,000 men landed by air and sea in Normandy to liberate Europe from Nazi oppression. Operation Overlord planned for the invasion of the 50-mile stretch of coast to be completed in just 24 hours.

In years past, we've had a military bloggers and friends post about D-Day. (We used to call them blog-bursts.) So, in an effort to continue to preserve the history and honor of our efforts long ago, we will post these blog posts and add new ones every year. We intend to keep this at the top of the blog until June 7th. The D-Day blog burst is after the Jump and will be updated as bloggers submit (send me your links via email). 

Because, in the end, it is about our legacy...

    "..The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers at the edge of the cliffs, shooting down at them with machine guns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb..." - President Ronald Reagan, at the Ranger Monument, 6 June 1984, in Pointe Du Hoc, Normandy, France

Welcome to a MilBlogs And Friends Special Edition of the Anniversary of D-Day!

Below you will find links to extraordinary bloggers telling the stories of D-Day from their unique perspectives. Instead of term paper descriptions, you'll see the beaches and cliffs of the Normandy coast, you'll read letters of the survivors and hear about the great sacrifices made by our neighbors to the north...and you'll never forget the Greatest Generation.

Let us begin:

We'll start with this video presentation of President Roosevelt's radio address asking the nation to pray for the men invading France:

...If you where a Private in the 75th Ranger Regiment, you grew up knowing about Point Du Hoc. If you were a private in 2nd Ranger Battalion you learned it the way Catholic grammar school children learn the Bible. On D-day the men of 2nd Ranger Battalion drew one the hardest missions of the invasion: Scale the sheer and unprotected cliff faces of Point Du Hoc to destroy the captured French 155mm artillery pieces - the big guns that could rain hell on both the Omaha and Utah landing beaches – the guns that could jeopardize the success or failure of the Normandy landings. The mission was equally impossible and critical and its success hinged on Colonel James Rudder’s 225 men. They were equipped with ladders borrowed from the London fire department and ropes with grappling hooks...

Ordinary Christian posts Winston Churchill's address about the invasion of France to the House of Commons on June 6th ,1944.

...There are already hopes that actual tactical surprise has been attained, and we hope to furnish the enemy with a succession of surprises during the course of the fighting. The battle that has now begun will grow constantly in scale and in intensity for many weeks to come, and I shall not attempt to speculate upon its course. This I may say, however. Complete unity prevails throughout the Allied Armies. There is a brotherhood in arms between us and our friends of the United States...

Also, Ordinary Christian also posts General Eisenhower's address to the troops before the invasion and about Four Men on D-day who were awarded the MOH.

John at Op-For picks my favorite piece from the landing at Normandy - Point du Hoc.  The Rangers scaled the cliffs only to find their objective missing...

Captain B at One Marine's View has a post about Role Models...from D-Day in 1944 to the streets of Ramadi.

Technography has a comprehensive post about the Battle for Fox Green Beach.

John Donovan at Argghhh! has two posts about D-Day - A Paratrooper Jumps - H-5 (with more from paratrooper Don Burgett) and Slapton Sends D+38.  And definitely check out the photo essay of the landing H Hour...

Cop the Truth takes a look at D-Day + 62 (years)...

Echo9er has a post complete with a New York Times article about the invasion...can you tell the difference between the Times of 1944 and now?

Sons of the American Legion Post 459 posts about Franklin D. Roosevelt's D-Day Prayer.

Confederate Yankee has General George Patton's speech to the troops before the invasion:

"Be Seated."

"Men, this stuff we hear about America wanting to stay out of the war, not wanting to fight, is a lot of bullshit. Americans love to fight - traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble player; the fastest runner; the big league ball players; the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win - all the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost, not ever will lose a war, for the very thought of losing is hateful to an American."

"You are not all going to die. Only two percent of you here today would die in a major battle. Death must not be feared. Every man is frightened at first in battle. If he says he isn't, he's a goddamn liar. Some men are cowards, yes! But they fight just the same, or get the hell shamed out of them watching men who do fight who are just as scared. The real hero is the man who fights even though he is scared. Some get over their fright in a minute under fire, some take an hour. For some it takes days. But the real man never lets fear of death overpower his honor, his sense of duty to this country and his innate manhood."...

Damn right, sir...

Cool Blue Blog has an interesting post about the oldest Battleship in the Fleet (his father was aboard during the invasion)...

Murdoc Online says "Gather weapons and ammo..."

John in Carolina posts an important article from Ernie Pyle - "A Pure Miracle":

"In this column I want to tell you what the opening of the second front in this one sector entailed, so that you can know and appreciate and forever be humbly grateful to those both dead and alive who did it for you.

Ashore, facing us, were more enemy troops than we had in our assault waves. The advantages were all theirs, the disadvantages all ours. The Germans were dug into positions that they had been working on for months, although these were not yet all complete.

A one-hundred-foot bluff a couple of hundred yards back from the beach had great concrete gun emplacements built right into the hilltop. These opened to the sides instead of to the front, thus making it very hard for naval fire from the sea to reach them. They could shoot parallel with the beach and cover every foot of it for miles with artillery fire.

Then they had hidden machine-gun nests on the forward slopes, with crossfire taking in every inch of the beach. These nests were connected by networks of trenches, so that the German gunners could move about without exposing themselves..."

And that's just for openers.

Our own Laughing Wolf submits European Command's excellent resources about D-Day.

The Mudville Gazette offers up D-Day Minus One - it begins with a message from General Eisenhower.

Chuck Z at From My Position...On the Way has a great post up about the myths about tanks on D-Day.  (hint: tanks were there in the fight)

Make no mistake about it, D-Day was an infantry fight, and they paid for every square inch of that beach with blood. The sacrifices of the Rangers, the Line, and The Airborne cannot be forgotten. But there were a vast many "other" units that made the day possible, participated in the direct firefight, and in many instances gave their lives providing cover for the crunchies until they could give no more.

...As I said it means a lot to me, and not just because I'm in the military myself, but because my dad was there. He was one of those young, brave American soldiers who "hit the beach" that day and survived...

Bookworm Room has a post about the Seasick Warriors:

Seasickness.  It’s an utterly vile condition, worse, I think, than any other type of motion sickness.  When you’re seasick, your entire body is rebelling against you.  Worse, there’s no escape.  You’re trapped in the middle of an endless ocean, feeling about as bad as it’s possible for a human to feel...

More from Castle Argghhh! - first up D-Day: The Decision:

...With a little push of paper across his desk, Eisenhower started a ball rolling that essentially wouldn't stop until VE day, 11 months and hundreds of thousands of deaths hence...

PoliSat honors D-Day:

On D-Day our thoughts are on Normandy's shores where thousands gave all bringing freedom ashore.

Old Blue of Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure writes of the Benchmark of D-Day

...For myself and my generation, and for generations that follow, it sets the benchmark. Cries of "Currahee!" still inspire feats of amazing courage, and raise the wounded from comas. Young Soldiers, particularly in the Airborne, are still bred with stories of their regiment's legacy from that day, the night that preceded it and the months that followed it..

Some Soldier's Mom writes of the D-Day Memorial and the need to preserve it.  You can ask your congressman to support the intitiative.  Great photos of the memorial at SSM's place, too!

John Donovan at Castle Argghhh adds the following posts to the D-Day round up:

Currahee - The Airborne goes in.
D-Day, H-Hour (photo post)
D-Day - we weren't alone.
D-Day, the Supreme Commander waits
D-Day, in the air above the beaches
D-Day, the Navy on the beaches

Hooah Wife posts a thank you to men of D-Day.