70 Years Ago Today
I feel like any site such as ours – that’s always dedicated itself to appreciating those in the military whose sacrifices make our goofy little fantasy life possible – would be remiss if we didn’t honor the 70th anniversary of D-Day. The largest armada ever assembled launching the greatest invasion in the history of warfare and doing nothing less than saving the world. 160,000 Americans, British and Canadians, most of them nothing more than kids really, running into harm’s way, with no inkling of whether they’d survive the day. Or even if the invasion itself would be a complete failure and doom generations into darkness. Thousands of them did in fact give what Lincoln called their last true measure of devotion. But their sacrifice gave the Allies a foothold which they never relinquished. And because of it, we’re reading blogs about celebrity asses and Tom Brady instead of reading Mein Kampf and watching German scheisse videos.
We owe everything to those kids who ran into the hail of hot, zizzing death, over the mines and around the tank traps accompanied by the deafening roar of explosions and the clanging of their own iron testicles. Yet far too few of them are still around to thank. And there’s no way we, who consider it a national emergency if we can’t get a decent WiFi signal, can do justice to these guys in words. So here’s a random sampling of videos that hopefully will tell their story and show our gratitude.
D-Day Itself, FDR’s Prayer to the Nation:
D-Day, 2014. Vets Who Made the Assault on Normandy Tell Their Story. (I defy you not to cry when Pvt. William Ryan loses it.)
2014: A Flight Attendant Signs the National Anthem to a Group of D-Day Vets Getting on a Flight from Detroit to Paris
89 Year Old Scotsman Jock Hutton Parachutes Back to the Same Field He Landed on 70 Years Earlier, This Time to a Hero’s Welcome:
The Omaha Beach Scene in “Saving Private Ryan”:
Easy Company Jumps Behind Enemy Lines in “Band of Brothers”:
Ronald Reagan Salutes “The Boys of Pointe du Hoc,” 1984:
Regardless of your politics, that has to be one of the all time great speeches by a President. He said it better then than any of us could: “The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers — the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machineguns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb… Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After 2 days of fighting, only 90 could still bear arms. Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there. These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.” Fortunately that was 30 years ago and lot more of them were left then than there are now. But none of them will ever be forgotten. May they rest in peace, with our thanks. @JerryThornton1