As a nation we look back and celebrate the efforts of the Allied invasion forces on the beaches of Normandy, often referred to as D-Day. Very few dates in history draw more attention; as reason tells us, had they failed the world would be a much different place. But they didn’t fail and our debt of gratitude is enormous, so much so that it’s difficult to express in words.
While on the phone with my mother this morning we talked about the significance of D-Day. In my mind’s eye I could see her pointing to an American Flag fastened to a short wooden pole she keeps next to the front door in the umbrella stand. “Should we put the flag out on display?”
Dad walked by as we were on the phone, “Hey Kid, how’re you doing?”
“Okay, Sir”, Dad doesn’t hear very well so that sums up our conversations as mom acknowledged our mutual respect for each other.
She then continued explaining her experience from the stand point of a young girl in high school listening to the public address system during her economics class. For a few minutes she recalled how that particular class wasn’t her favorite, that the woman teaching it lacked social skills and was flat out rude to most students. “I think she was a communist”, but so many economics teachers tend to lean to the left.
“The invasion of Europe has begun…”, her voice recalled the announcement over the intercom as her throat tightened, tears welling up in her eyes as the moment played out one more time in her thoughts. It isn’t difficult to picture a classroom of students intently listening as the message was delivered, each word carrying the fate of the civilized world, each knowing family members and close friends could be involved in the invasion and the great risks they would face.
Eisenhower delivered a now famous address to the troops, one which was intended to boost moral and spirit; that's what my mother likely heard as she reached back through the years telling me about her D-Day memories. She remembered the solemnity of the address and how Eisenhower took full responsibility for any failure which might give NAZI Germany total and complete victory.
I found another document stored away in the National Archives, a letter written by Eisenhower in the event of total failure at Normandy.
“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”
It’s not a pleasant thought, wondering if everything you believe in, everything you stand for and have placed on the line, all the men who have gone to the front lines, men who would be slaughtered or sustain injuries beyond imagination; to consider that your decision and yours alone might be the end of freedom and liberty.
Thank Providence and Heaven’s help that day for letting the Allied invasion forces accomplish their task. Had they not won more folks would be aware of Eisenhower’s letter of failure instead of his words of encouragement to the troops.
This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.