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On the evening of June 6th, 1944, the Allied landings on the beaches of Normandy, France began. This operation was the largest amphibious invasion in world history. With today marking the 68th anniversary of that day, we feel that everyone should take a moment and reflect. Remember those that fought for every inch of ground on that great day. It was not an easy job but our soldiers knew what was expected of them in order to win the war.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower gave an amazing message just prior to the invasion. Read it below or listen to the .mp3 recording.
Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon a 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, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory!
Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.
Also, you may want to take a look at the speech given by General George S. Patton to the troops of the U.S. Third Army on June 5, 1944. It’s a bit aggressive with some language but remember, this is war and this was Patton. Below are some excerpts from that speech:
Men, this stuff that some sources sling around about America wanting out of this war, not wanting to fight, is a crock of bullshit. Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle…Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.
…There are four hundred neatly marked graves somewhere in Sicily. All because one man went to sleep on the job. But they are German graves, because we caught the bastard asleep before they did.
…My men don’t dig foxholes. I don’t want them to. Foxholes only slow up an offensive. Keep moving. And don’t give the enemy time to dig one either. We’ll win this war, but we’ll win it only by fighting and by showing the Germans that we’ve got more guts than they have; or ever will have. We’re not going to just shoot the sons-of-bitches, we’re going to rip out their living Goddamned guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks.
…I don’t want to get any messages saying, ‘I am holding my position.’ We are not holding a Goddamned thing. Let the Germans do that. We are advancing constantly and we are not interested in holding onto anything, except the enemy’s balls. We are going to twist his balls and kick the living shit out of him all of the time. Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy. We are going to go through him like crap through a goose….
…From time to time there will be some complaints that we are pushing our people too hard. I don’t give a good Goddamn about such complaints. I believe in the old and sound rule that an ounce of sweat will save a gallon of blood. The harder WE push, the more Germans we will kill. The more Germans we kill, the fewer of our men will be killed. Pushing means fewer casualties. I want you all to remember that.
Speech from the movie “Patton”:
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The amphibious invasion actually began at 0630 on the morning of June 6, 1944. Not the evening of June 6. At Midnight the airborne jumped in (24,000 men) and then the following morning at 0630 the boats where landing on the beaches. Attention to detail! When reflecting we should remember the small details as well as the larger ones.
My wife and I spent the afternoon at the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, I know wrong theater, but it was an awesome way to remember an important day in history.
You know, these are some serious morale boosters here, pity we have to worry about being so PC all the time, Patton always gets the "hooah" flowing. I digress...here's one for one hell of a beach trip.