June 6, 1944, D-Day

By 1943, the Germans had overrun most of Europe, imposing their hateful
philosophy on much of humanity. The armies of the democracies were
either crushed or barely hanging on to survival.   The Russians were
fighting valiantly against Hitler's troops but were seriously outmatched
by superior German weapons. They were losing men by the hundreds of
thousands. If Russia fell, then England would be standing alone against
one of the truly evil men in history. The Russians needed to have German
troops diverted from the Russian front and Stalin begged, demanded,
implored for the western allies to open another front in France.
On December 7, 1941, Japan made the most critical blunder of the Second
World War. They picked a fight with the United States of America. Hitler
had signed an agreement with the Japanese and when the USA declared war
on Japan, Hitler was forced to declare war against the Americans. Now,
the fight was really on!

With America's entry into the War came an abundance of resources,
ingenuity and man power the likes of which the world had never seen.
Within nine months of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States
industrial machine produced more war ships than had been produced in all
of human history. Tens of thousands of airplanes were built a month,
along with millions of small and heavy arms. Seven hundred tanks a month
rolled off of American assembly lines and more then five million men and
women joined the armed services fully intent on using all that equipment
against those who dare to make war on us.

By mid 1944, trillions of tons of material along with two million men
had been moved to England and were preparing to strike at the heart of
Nazi Germany. The Americans working side by side with their English,
Canadian and Australian allies assiduously attended to every detail in
order to guarantee their success when the invasion would finally come.

The English people warmly opened their hearts and homes to the Americans
but soon, English soldiers were becoming jealous of the American men who
so easily seduced the young women of England. The Americans were brash
and dashing and said one English girl, "They were all so handsome and
confident." "It was as though we were invaded by millions of wonderful
looking movie stars." "How could we resist them?" The English soldiers
said the trouble with the Americans was that they were overpaid, overfed
and over here. The Americans answered them by saying the English soldier
was under fed, under paid and under Eisenhower.

The day of invasion came June 6, 1944. The Allies would not cross at
Callie but instead would follow the path taken by William the Conqueror
a thousand years before and land a little further south along the French
coast of Normandy. The beaches were divided into five sections named
Gold, Sword, and Juno which were assigned to the English and Canadians.
The Americans would take the harder, more heavily defended beaches of
Omaha and Utah.

Remember now, the Germans had been there for three years already. They
knew we were coming. They were prepared for us. They wanted us to try an
invasion. They were ready! They were veterans of the Eastern front: they
knew what war was. They were dug in to their concrete fortifications.
Every gun was placed to cover the beaches and leave no spot were heavy
and light arms would miss their targets. Barbed wire was strewn
everywhere along with steal reinforced tank obstacles and land mines by
the tens of thousands carpeted the beaches. Enough concrete had been
used by the Germans as to have built 30 Hoover Dams. Hitler called it
his Atlantic Wall.

Hitler said that his troops would annihilate those Americans. He bet
that his Hitler Youth which had been trained to follow orders under all
circumstances would maul the free thinking, undisciplined children of
the democracies. He said the Americans were weak, soft and spoiled and
no match for his hard trained soldiers which were raised in accordance
with his own totalitarian system.

The Troops landed at 0600 hours, 6th June 1944. The Liberation of the
world had commenced.

The Wall held back the British for about an hour, the Canadians for
about 20 minutes and the Americans at Utah for about two hours. The
Atlantic Wall was a joke! That is everywhere but for the Americans
assaulting Omaha. As soon as the gates of the landing craft fell, the
Germans on the hill began firing and Americans began dying in wholesale
numbers. Yet on they charged. "Loading and firing back with a demoniacal
fury", said one man. Men were shot and spun around by the impact of the
bullets like tops. Heads, arms, backpacks flew into the clear air from
the German shells which were landing every where on the beach. The
German defenders were pouring a terrible fire down upon the Americans.
"We couldn't help but hit them with every shot", said one German.

Soldiers began sliding and slipping on the muddy beach caused by the
blood and insides of their fallen comrades. Entire units were destroyed
by the incoming German shells. Men prayed out loud, cried out loud and
died silently. They fell like when snow lands on warm ground: They were
no more. Yet on came the infantry divisions, fighting viciously for
every step forward and for every step closer to the Germans who held the
high ground. The Navy saw what was happening and some brave American
naval commanders moved so close to the shore that the bottom of the
boats scrapped along the ocean floor. They turned their ships sideways,
parallel to the beach and started firing back at the German batteries
that were slaughtering the American infantry on the beach. Some sailors
manning the guns on the ships actually got into one on one duels with
the German artillery and exchange after exchange ensued. In his
excitement, one naval gunner, his finger pointed furiously toward the
shore, his face contorted in a ferocious look, started crying, laughing
and screaming back at the Germans, tears flowing from his eyes all the
while firing his gun at the beach until the barrel actually began to
glow red from the heat. "Come on you Nazies, come on!"

Watching through his long-range glasses the Captain of the ship was
yelling too. "That's it boys, that's it." they're moving up that hill
over on the left." "Can ya see em?" "Take that hill!" "Take it you

Slowly, tediously and at great cost, the Americans began inching their
way up the slopes until and after six hours; the first Americans reached
the top of the crest. Then the fighting turned to hand-to-hand and the
Americans fought like maddened demons. The Germans broke...then ran. The
beach was ours!   It was sheer courage and the basic survival
instincts on the part of the individuals that prevailed that day and it
was small groups of men who saved the day. Colonel Taylor, the commander
of the US 16th Infantry Regiment is reported to have said: 'Two kinds of
men are staying on this beach, the dead and those who are going to die -
now let's get out of here." By early afternoon, more tanks had been
landed on to the beach but the exits were still only open to men on foot
who had to pick their way through the extensive minefields in single
file. By nightfall the US 1st Infantry Division had gained a tenuous
hold on the road that ran inland behind the beach and vehicles were
starting to move through the exits. The fact that the Big Red One (the
nickname for the US 1st Infantry Division) was not defeated is a
testament to the great bravery of American troops who fought that day in
Normandy. Hitler was wrong. The children of democracy were not weak and
soft. They were brave, determined and steadfast and would not be denied
that day. They had grown up in a society that taught them to be
confident and independent and they were not about to allow anyone to
change their world. Later that evening, looking down from the high
ground so desperately defended and so desperately fought for, beneath
the darkening, cloudy skies, one could see thousands of Allied ships
unloading hundreds of jeeps, tanks and armored vehicles. Thousands of
men poured onto the beach and the American flag flew above it all.

There was victory for the American army but at such a cost. Thousands of
the dead still lay stretched along the beach while some bodies floated
silently face down in the water, bobbing up and down to the motion of
the incoming tide. Pictures of loved ones which some soldiers had been
clutching in their hands either floated at the sides of the dead or were
lifted upward by the breeze then drifted downward again to rest on the
red blood soaked sand. Night was falling; they had experienced the
devil's own day but when it ended, it was an American day.

Ernie Pyle, a very brave and famous newsman for the Stars and Stripes
Newspaper, walked along the beach with Hemmingway surveying the carnage.
"It was a miracle they ever took this beach," he said. A soldier who had
fought all day on the beach was passing by and heard the comment. "Hey
buddy", he said. "That wasn't any miracle." "That was the American
Infantry that took this beach."

From that day on Hitler and his lunatic sidekicks were finished. Nine
months later, the American Army marched down the streets of Paris.
Months later...Hitler killed himself.

What soldiers! What sailors! What airmen! What a country! God bless
America and the children she produces. This is the only nation in
history that sends it young men forward to fight for the freedom of
another man. What a noble thing to do; to die to make other men free.
We are free people living in a free society because of the deeds of our
service people....keep that in mind please.

Jack Dearth

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