6th June 1944. D-Day. Much has been written about this famous day in allied military history. Today there is a Memorial to the US servicemen who gave their lives in the cause of freedom from the Nazi tyranny. The Memorial exists in tribute to the valor, fidelity, and sacrifice of the Allied Forces on D-Day, 6 June 1944. The United States Congress warranted the establishment of the Memorial at Bedford, Virginia, the community suffering the country’s severest per capita losses on D-Day.
Estimated figures of the losses that day?
U.S. AIRBORNE 2,499
U.S. / UTAH 197
U.S. / OMAHA 2,000
U.K. / GOLD 413
CAN. / JUNO 1,204
U.K. / SWORD 630
U.K. AIRBORNE 1,500
GUESS 9,000 total
The Memorial was dedicated 6th June 2001, and on that day, President Bush said:
“Fifty-seven years ago, America and the nations of Europe formed a bond that has never been broken. And all of us incurred a debt that can never be repaid. Today, as America dedicates our D-Day Memorial, we pray that our country will always be worthy of the courage that delivered us from evil and saved the free world. [Link: http://www.dday.org/index.php?page=showGallery&module=gallery&id=1000005&action=F]
At that memorial dedication, more than 24,000 attended the ceremony. They remembered and honoured those who had given their all in the cause of freedom from tyranny.
General Eisenhower’s “Order of the Day”:
On that day, Winston Churchill stood up and addressed the British Houses of Parliament:
.” ..I have also to announce to the House that during the night and the early hours of this morning the first of the series of landings in force upon the European Continent has taken place. In this case the liberating assault fell upon the coast of France…
So far the Commanders who are engaged report that everything is proceeding according to plan. And what a plan! This vast operation is undoubtedly the most complicated and difficult that has ever taken place. It involves tides, wind, waves, visibility, both from the air and the sea standpoint, and the combined employment of land, air and sea forces…
It is, therefore, a most serious time that we enter upon. Thank God, we enter upon it with our great Allies all in good heart and all in good friendship.” Go read the rest of this amazing insight into events that day here: [link: http://www.winston-churchill-leadership.com/speech-d-day.html]
There are many recorded speeches of Churchill during WW2. His confidence in the allied effort to vanquish the foe is legendary. To this day, anyone who listens to his stirring oratory can imagine how forcefully he inspired Britons to the cause of victory:
Even from the start of his political career, Churchill was known for his rhetorical eloquence across Britain. But during the tense early months of World War II, when Britain stood alone with her Empire and Commonwealth, surviving the Battle of Britain and the Blitz, his speeches and broadcasts carried a message of determination and defiance around the globe. Churchill’s inspirational wartime speeches rank among the greatest delivered by any leader in history… Ten years after World War II ended, Churchill said of his wartime role that it was Britain that “had the lion’s heart,” he merely “had the luck to be called upon to give the roar.” [Here: www.loc.gov/…/interactive/_html/wc0213_3.html] And roar he did!
FDR also shared what is now his famous prayer on 6th June 194. In a radio address to the nation, FDR said:
My Fellow Americans:
…in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:
Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.
Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.
… Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.
They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest – until the victory is won…
For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.
Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.
And for us at home – fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them – help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice…
And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons whosesoever they may be.
Thy will be done, Almighty God.
Amen. There is a video of this, and it is worth listening to. You can find that here: [link: http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/fdr-prayer.htm]
Today, when our allied forces again stand strong in the face of tyranny, let us always remember our ancestors who never hesitated. Let US be worthy of their courage. Today, as we make history for future generations yet to be born, let us honour those brave men and women who also rewrote history in their time.