D-Day: Eisenhower Address to Troops

SUPREME HEADQUARTERS
ALLIED EXPEDITIONARY FORCE

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 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 marching together to Victory!

I have full confidence in your devotion to duty and skill in battle.
We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

Good Luck! And let us all beseech blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Source and other videos:  Army Youtube Page

D-Day: June 6, 1944

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Tomorrow, June 6, we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy. It can be easy to trivialize events in history with dates and numbers as time passes and those whose memories of the events are still fresh in the minds pass on to their heavenly reward. It is therefore up to us, the next generation, that should not only honor their sacrifices by remembering their courage but also by keeping alive the values and virtues that made that generation the greatest generation of Americans.

Here are some facts about D-Day*:

1. D-day marked the first time that an invading army crossed the English Channel since 1688 when a Dutch fleet was on its way to invade England. It also marked the largest amphibious operation in history. More than 150,000 men and about 30,000 vehicles crossed the channel; about half of these brave men were Americans.

2. “D” stands for day of the invasion, which was supposed to be June 5, 1944 but inclement weather forced the Allies to postpone to June 6, 1944.

3. Operation Overlord is the military Codename for the Allied invasion of Europe. The amphibian assault component of the invasion started on D-day and was codenamed Operation Neptune. Operation Neptune consisted of almost 7,000 vessels that supported the amphibian invasion.

4. Operation Pointblank was designed to achieve aerial superiority during the invasion by crippling Germany air force through bombardment.

5. Operation Bodyguard  was an elaborate operation designed to prevent the Germans from learning the Allied plans for the invasion.  The Germans had about 55 divisions ready to meet and repel the expected Allied invasion. It was an intelligence coup to keep the plans for Operation Overlord under wrap since the Allied forces could only land about 8 divisions during the first wave. Note Operation Fortitude was part of the larger Operation Bodyguard.

6. In the months preceding D-Day Allied forces lost about 12,000 men and over 2,000 aircraft in various military operations that made possible the invasion of Normandy

7. According to the US National D-Day Foundation the total personnel killed on D-Day was 4,413. That is 2,499 American fatalities and 1,914 from other Allied nations. This is a much higher estimate than the generally accepted estimate of about 2,500.

8. About 850,000 men and 150,000 vehicles landed in Normandy supporting the efforts to liberate Europe from Nazi Germany.

9. D-Day was a logistical coup. It took millions of men and woman in Allied countries to help prepare for the invasion.

10. According to the Veteran’s Administration there are only 1.2 million WWII veterans remaining from the 16 million who bravely served during WWII. It is sobering to learn that it is estimated that they are dying at a rate of more than 550 a day.

 God Bless our veterans and this great Country of ours.

*I obtained many of the facts listed above from the following sources:

The National WWII Museum
PBS’s American Experience
The History Channel
Awesome Stories

Also for more information visit the excellent blog: Pacific Paratrooper. If you are inspired and have the opportunity I highly recommend you to visit the D-day Museum in New Orleans.

A brief thought about happiness

This week I have come across this beautiful prayer from St. Nicholas of Flue:

“My Lord and My God, take from me everything that distance me from you. My Lord and my God, give me everything that brings me closer to you. My Lord and my God, detach me from myself to give my all to you”.

St. Nicholas of Flue

It helped me to put things into perspective. What is it that we really want and why is it that even if we feel content by our material possessions, achievement our hearts remain restless?

I believe that deep inside any sane person wants happiness. Many people have different definitions of what happiness is and many different ways to find it. The problem is that we often confuse what happiness is and look for it in all the wrong places. I rather have a very simple definition of what happiness is. Happiness is a state of fulfillment. The question is what is fulfillment? I think that St. Augustine of Hippo, in the fourth century, had the answer when he wrote in the Confessions:

“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you”.

We are truly happy when all our desires and actions rest upon the Lord. Think about it… as Fr. Vincent Serpa, chaplain of the Catholic Answers apostolate, says: “He loves you with such a love that keeps your heart beating and with such a love that cause his heart to stop”. He loves you with such a Love that he only wants what is best for you. Period.

So when I found St. Nicholas of Flue prayer it all made sense. Why want anything that will keep me away from such Love? Why not seek anything that will bring me closer to such Love? Why not give myself completely to His love? Even if we keep falling and hitting our heads against the wall every time we sin, it is totally worth it!

God Bless.