On this 75th Anniversary of D-Day
In 2008 I had the privilege of visiting the beaches of Normandy that included the American Cemetery that is located above the cliffs of Omaha Beach. As a young boy being the son of a Green Beret Officer, I devoured many a book that spoke of the historic importance of the Allied Invasion and how after the first several waves of Infantrymen from the 1st and 29th Infantry Divisions assaulting Omaha Beach were decimated by the dense and well protected German defenses, General Eisenhower was strongly considering calling off the invasion. However, it is one thing to read about this epic story and another to actually see precisely the bowl-shaped terrain that the Germans held and to see how those first several waves of young men really never had a chance to get a foothold on that beach. It is estimated that less than 47 soldiers were abled-enough in the assault on Omaha to fulfill their mission and establish the beachhead that would eventually lead to Berlin and the end of WWII.
Thankfully it was enough and it certainly made me think about the immense bravery, courage and true sacrifice that these young men had, to get off the safety of their troop ships and board the assault vessels that would make their way to the beaches that for those first few waves was a slaughterhouse. I think of the deep fears these young men held; the thoughts of their families back home; thoughts of what they would encounter when the ramp of their assault boats dropped; thoughts about whether they would be up to the Herculean task that lay before them. And as I stood on that hallowed ground at Normandy, all I could think of was of immense gratitude and respect for what those young men did for us all and why on this day, June 6th, 2019 we should be reminded of their heroic deeds and never forget their valorous sacrifice.
[Photo: Getty Images]