Saturday, June 06, 2009

Day Of Days


June 6, 1944. Today is the 65th anniversary of the start of Operation Overlord. It started with the landings at the beaches of Normandy, and combat operations continued in Europe until the surrender of Germany in 1945.

General Dwight Eisenhower is pictured above, talking with officers and men from a unit of the 101st Airborne Division. He also delivered a speech to Allied forces prior to their stepping over the line of battle.

The text of his speech to the Allied forces is below:

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.

In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, 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 defeats, 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 and devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory! Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

SIGNED: Dwight D. Eisenhower


Medic(three) said...

They just don't give speeches like the use to....

Karen Brook Westhaver said...

Thanks for posting this, Walt. So many lives lost, so many people have forgotten. How did you find the time on such a busy day? Again...great post.

Michael Morse said...

Thanks for that, Walt, I never read it. I always read Churchill's stuff and don't have time for much else. That was a pretty good speech!

HJSLT said...

I still have my grandfather's copy of that speech. It was given to all of the troops as they sat in the ships going over. It amazes me that Grampie was one of the four members of the 14 man pipe band to survive the landing on Juno Beach. Then he missed being captured at the Abbey Ardenne and testified at Kurt Meyer's war trial. To top it all off, his pipes still sound great every time Mum plays them. It really was quite something to be standing by the graves of his fellow NNS Highlanders in Holland, knowing he played for them when they were finally buried.