Friday, June 06, 2008

D-Day Anniversary


Soldiers in an amphibious landing craft approach Omaha Beach June 6, 1944Today is the anniversary of D-Day (the beginning of the Battle of Normandy.) It is always strange for me to see pictures like this one because when you think about it you realize what those guys are heading into and that many of them very likely never made it home. It is very sobering.

According to the website where I got this picture the casualties on both sides of this battle were staggering. It reported the following figures:

United States: 29,000 dead, 106,000 wounded or missing
United Kingdom: 11,000 dead, 54,000 wounded or missing
Canada: 5,000 dead, 13,000 wounded or missing
France: 12,000 dead or missing civilians
Germany: 23,019 dead, 67,060 wounded, 198,616 missing or captured

That is a total of just over 80,000 people killed in one battle. In fact, many of the missing were most likely dead. Like I said, the numbers are staggering. These numbers are the totals between June 6 and June 30, 1944 - 25 days.

All I can say is I am glad the American people had the will to win World War II. To me this really puts the losses that we have suffered in the Global War on Terror since 9/11/01 into perspective. While we have paid dearly in the War on Terror we have not sacrificed the way America did during World War II. Thank God such a sacrifice has not been required to this point, because I am not certain that our nation would be willing to pay such a price for freedom now. (Perhaps they would be more willing to if Hollywood and the media were as supportive of the mission now as they were then.)

When Saving Private Ryan came out, there were reports that veterans who saw the movie and were at Omaha beach said that the movie was just like the real thing - except for the smell. Watching the movie I couldn't believe that anyone survived. It is hard for the mind to comprehend.

I am so grateful for the men and women who down through America's history have been willing to lay their lives down to purchase freedom. Some purchased it for themselves, some purchased it for others, and some purchased it for generations yet to come. Thank you so much.

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