Today is June 6, 2020. On June 6th 1944, Allied soldiers assaulted “Fortress Europe” and that assault signaled the beginning of the end of the most devastating war in human history.
On that day, over 150,000 Allied troops stormed Normandy by air and from landing craft from across the English Channel. Over 4,000 of those troops died in the assault. This was the first major use of airborne troops by the Allies and many of those troops died from German anti-aircraft fire and others drowned because the German occupiers of France flooded the landing zones where descending troops landed, most carrying over 120 lbs of extra equipment that dragged them to the bottom of the flooded fields. . More died in the meat-grinder of Omaha Beach where German machine gun emplacements spewed death from “Hitler’s Buzzsaw”, the MG-42 which could fire over 1,500 rounds per minute into the massed troops debarking from the landing craft.
What do we remember today? How many of us remember that today is the anniversary of the largest seaborne assault in modern history?
The Greatest Generation fought and died to give us the freedom we take for granted today, but the date of one of the most epic battles is largely forgotten. D-day is not alone in our collective forgetfulness. How many here can cite the date of the invasion of the Philippines, Guadalcanal, Anzio, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, the battle of the Bulge, and so many other landmark battles that determined the course of human history for the next several decades? The number of soldiers who died in that conflict was in excess of 419,000. That number does not include those wounded, maimed and left disabled. If the 419,000 number means nothing to you, it equals the population of Long Beach California. The number of wounded exceeded 1,000,000.
Did you remember today? If not, why not?