The freedoms enjoyed today were firmly upheld 75 years ago today — June 6, 1944 — when a group of cold, wet, seasick and already tired soldiers breached Fortress Europe.
Known as D-Day, Operation Overlord launched more than 11,000 aircraft, 6,000 naval vessels, and 2 million soldiers, sailors, and airmen from 15 countries.
The complex effort took more than two years of preparation but would forever be remembered as the day that turned the tide of World War II.
With the Allies taking a stronghold in the west and the Soviets in the east, German dictator Adolf Hitler lost substantial ground in his world domination attempt.
It would be the beginning of the end for Hilter’s regime.
Heroes and role models emerged from the invasion and nearly 5,000 men lost their lives fighting for the Allies. Each did their part to secure the beaches as his brothers fell around him.
Their success and, very likely, our personal freedoms would have been lost that day without the bravery of the armed forces.
In addition, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, who commanded the massive operation, gave the nation examples of great leadership that apply to our world today.
“When pressure mounts and strain increases everyone begins to show the weaknesses in his makeup. It is up to the commander to conceal his: above all to conceal doubt, fear, and distrust,” Eisenhower said.
He also modeled the level of responsibility a leader should assume for an outcome, whether it be success or failure, with the note he put into his wallet before the mission began.
“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone,” Eisenhower wrote.
He chose to shoulder all the blame and be fully accountable for the final results of the mission despite it’s expansive nature. In the process, he taught others to do the same.
We cannot afford to forget the importance of D-Day and our World War II experiences as a nation and world, on the whole.
Instead, we should pause to recall, study and ingrain in our minds how fortunate we were that millions of young men risked their lives so that we might live ours in freedom.