Friday, June 5, 2009

A break in the clouds

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.
-Dwight D. Eisenhower

I just checked the weather report and it tells me the rain we’ve been enjoying for the past week should clear around dawn tomorrow.

Sixty-five years ago, General Dwight Eisenhower got the same news from his chief meteorologist Group Captain J.M. Stagg during a meeting with his commanders. The subject of the meeting was the miserable weather they were facing and if the planned invasion of Normandy, which they’d already put off for a day, should be canceled and moved.

Stagg’s forecast called for a break in the weather the next morning, a Tuesday, and Eisenhower decided to roll the dice. Forever more June 6 would be celebrated.

So, while we’re all complaining and grumpy about the endless rain we’ve had, remember that 65 years ago today more than 160,000 American, Canadian, British and other Allied troops were tossing their cookies aboard attack transports in the Channel and preparing to board aircraft to jump into Normandy.

Kinda puts it all in perspective.

Omaha Beach at low tide
D-Day Order speech by Dwight Eisenhower

You will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped, and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944. Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41.

The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeat in open battle man to man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground.

Our home fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men.

The tide has turned. The free men of the world are marching together to victory. I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle.

We will accept nothing less than full victory.

Good luck, and let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

1 comment:

Sebastian said...

Damn those 100% Oxygen atmospheres! Sad that such fine men died, but I guess it was for a very valid cause, looking at how far we've come now.

And the EU telescope will beat Hubble out of the sky... huh!