Operation Overlord

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Operation Overlord
By Drew Edmondson

This time of year has great personal meaning for me.  The first half of this month holds our wedding anniversary (6/10/1967) and Linda’s birthday (6/14).  The dates are close enough to be easily remembered and could justify a single present.  That, however, would never do.

June also brings us Flag Day on the 14th, Father’s Day on the 18th,  Juneteenth on the 19th and the beginning of summer on the 21st.  But the date that catches the attention of historians is the anniversary of June 6, 1944:  D-Day.  The invasion of Europe to liberate it from the German army and the rule of Benito Mussolini in Italy.

A number of movies have been made based upon the monumental elements of this action.  Land sea and air.  Naval bombardment followed by boats (LST’s -landing ship troop) hitting the shore line of Normandy.  Saving Private Ryan was a hit, as was The Longest Day, the one I remembered as the definitive D-Day movie.  The Americanization of Emily was a dark comedy and has been described as “anti-war”, but it did star Julie Andrews and Norman, Oklahoma’s own James Garner.  And, there were others.

The architect of what was named Operation Overlord was Dwight David Eisenhower, commander of allied forces.  The ultimate success of the invasion and the victory in World War II led Eisenhower to the Presidency.

President Kennedy once told a journalist that “victory has 100 fathers and defeat is an orphan.”  That was not a new notion.  The historian Tacitus said, “This is an unfair thing about war:  victory is claimed by all, failure to one alone.”

It is not widely known but Eisenhower prepared a statement to be issued should the invasion proved itself a failure.  It was short and read as follows:

“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn our troops.  My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon 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.”

Sounds like a Rotarian using the four-way test.

There is a Normandy American Cemetery near the coast.  Not far from there is the Bayeux War Cemetery and the War Cemetery 1939-1945 Banneville-la-Campagne.  It was a costly campaign in human lives.  I hope to visit those sacred sites some day.

We spent the recent Memorial Day weekend in various and sundry ways.  Some traveled and visited friends and family near or far.  Some went to cemeteries well known to them and put flowers on family graves or stood in silent recollections.  We may have worked around the house, or played golf, cooked out or tended gardens.

The war movies were on TV and we may have watched them.

I hope we spent some time thinking about the thousands of graves on foreign soil, in France or in the Philippines, Germany or on Iwo Jima.

Freedom is precious – we celebrate it at every meeting with our pledge and anthem.  Let us not forget how easily it can be lost and how dear it is to try to get it back.  And let us protect the freedoms of others as earnestly as we hold on to our own.

1 Comments for : Operation Overlord
    • Dick Hefton
    • June 12, 2023

    Thanks for your potty reminder of what each succeeding generation from the one saving our freedom.
    But that we keep it!

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