D-Day

This is the anniversary of D-Day, the largest and probably one of the last large scale amphibious beach landings.

The weather had been against the allies, and the original planned date was delayed. General Patton, who periodically managed to irritate his superiors, was in charge of a mock army with inflatable tanks created by Hollywood special effects artists. The Germans expected Patton to lead the invasion, and the feint kept them convinced that it would occur at Calais—the closest place between France and Great Britain.

But it was Normandy where history was made. Roughly 160,000 crossed the channel on that day, most by ship, but also paratroopers, and gliders. The wind blew the landing craft off course and many ended up in the wrong, and more heavily defended, location. Ten thousand allies died the first day.

Imagine the prospect of being tossed around in a ship, climbing into a landing craft, approaching the beach under heavy gunfire, and when the ramp dropped, finding the courage to move forward as others around you fell. Imagine staring death right square in the face.

The “Greatest Generation”—those who fought in the Second World War will soon be gone, but trust me, their spirit endures today.

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