Thursday, June 6, 2013

Recalling D-Day Heroes and Reagan

Recalling D-Day Heroes and Reagan
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
June 6, 2013

Convergent forces saw the passing of former President Ronald Reagan, nine years ago yesterday (06/05/04), with the annual observance of D-Day, today 69 years removed from its June 6, 1944 landing on the shores of Normandy, France.

In his D-Day message, General Dwight Eisenhower said “We will accept nothing less than full victory.” Words of this strength have hardly been uttered during any war or conflict since, in which the United States has participated.

The landing at Omaha Beach and four other locales over a 50 mile span was the beginning of the end of the European segment of World War II. On this date 156,000-plus American, British, and Canadian troops hit hard the shores of those five beaches – initially suffering unprecedented casualties prior to wresting control from Nazi Germany.

Over 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft participated in the invasion where more than 4,000 Allied soldiers were killed and another 5,000 were wounded within the immediacy of the landings. This was a heavy price to pay, but was the turning point in defeating Hitler, Nazism, and Fascism.

“The free men of the world are marching together to victory,” Eisenhower continued in his D-Day message.

From the time of the D-Day landing through late August 1944, the Allied troops liberated northern France, including Paris. By May 1945, the Allies defeated Nazi Germany and the Axis powers of Europe.

Drafted into the Army shortly after the United States entered the war in December 1941, Reagan was not permitted to the front lines due to his near-sightedness. Instead, Reagan worked for the Motion Picture Army Unit producing training and propaganda films. For my impressions of Ronald Reagan:

“…let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty G-d upon this great and noble undertaking,” concluded General Eisenhower’s D-Day message.

Eisenhower understood then, what many have since forgotten: that short of a belief in G-d and striving for total victory, military conflicts are merely an exercise in futility costing the United States an unnecessary loss of blood, treasure, and human capital.

May we and future generations never forget the sacrifices made by the brave soldiers on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and may the losses of those who made the ultimate sacrifice not have been in vain.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

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