I generally spend some of today trying to imagine the courage it took for our grandfathers (or for some now, great-grandfathers) to step off of those landing craft at Omaha and Utah Beach with bullets snapping and ricocheting around them, stand in the door of that DC-3 waiting for the green light while flak exploded and rocked the plane , or climb aboard that B-17 an strap themselves in; knowing what fate possibly awaited them.
Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!
You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.
Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely. But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!
I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!
Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.
General Dwight D. Eisehower
For some of the tech generation, WWII is now a video game or a small boring chapter in history class and is now 67 years in our past. I thank every one of these vets I see at the VFW right back when they try to thank me for my service. My service was possible because of their service. Take some time today and reflect on what they did for us and how they saved the world here, here, here, and here; and how their grandchildren are doing their best in places like Kandahar, Zabul, Mosul, Baghdad, Paktiya, Paktika and Muqdadiya to save us again.