Veterans Day 2013

It’s difficult to string together more than a few thoughts on a post these days but I was stringing some thoughts together about my uncle (or, more accurately, my dad’s uncle) who hit the beach at Normany on June 6, 1944. He was in one of the later waves. It was supposed to be easy after the first waves secured the beaches but it turned out to be anything but. He remembered very little of the battle. He mostly remembered walking in the fields behind the beach afterward and stepping over the bodies of the slain because he knew there were no more mines under them.

I was especially thinking of the message General Eisenhower gave to his troops. My uncle showed me his original yellowed copy:

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.

May our nation always be worthy of their service.

(Some inspiration.)

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  1. Mississippi Yankee

    And let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

    That sentence alone would cost him, in the least, a star or two in today’s climate.
    My how far we’ve come. BTW, have we won a war since then?

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