The day the West freed itself from tyranny

posted at 10:13 am on June 6, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Sixty-five years ago today, the US, Britain, Canada, as well as Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland and others, sent their best young men to storm the beaches of Normandy and liberate an entire continent from the iron grip of a madman and a cult of death that surrounded him. Over 150,000 of them charged off of the troop carriers; at least 2500 never made it off the beaches, or in some cases, not even onto the beaches. No one actually knows the exact number lost on D-Day, and many of the dead were never found. The official casualty figure, including wounded and missing, exceeds 10,000.

To these heroic men, those who died and those who lived to keep fighting, we owe great thanks for preserving Western civilization when it appeared close to collapse. Without their courage, tyranny would have prevailed, massive genocides would have been commonplace, and the world would have gone to utter ruin.

Usually we celebrate the great leaders when we reflect on World War II, but the anniversary of D-Day is a day to reflect on the heroes who clawed their way onto and off of the beaches in the face of withering fire, overwhelmed a truly evil regime, and set the stage for its destruction.

Update: Ronald Reagan’s 40th anniversary speech at Normandy remains moving:

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I have no particular desire to understand them except to ascertain how much lead or iron it takes to kill them. In addition to his other amiable characteristics, the Russian has no regard for human life and they are all out sons-of-#itches, barbarians, and chronic drunks.
– George S. Patton

MB4 on June 6, 2009 at 8:38 PM

More than “another Reagan” (who we won’t get – his kind of greatness is a one-shot deal,) we need leaders who will return to these themes, and speak them, and live them by their deeds.

massrighty on June 6, 2009 at 8:35 PM

Please, sir, I want some more.

– Oliver Twist

Loxodonta on June 6, 2009 at 8:48 PM

Please, sir, I want some more.

Loxodonta on June 6, 2009 at 8:48 PM

Here’s more!

massrighty on June 6, 2009 at 9:07 PM

We are in the minority, now.

We lack leaders thus we seem smaller and fewer than we are. However, even if we are a minority it wouldn’t be the first time. Evil men have always placed their heavy steps upon the earth and civilisation has flourished in spite of them.

We won the war, but lost the peace.

Ebb and flow. The world was never so perfect and the war has never ended. In the west we have enjoyed a long period of peace and we have indulged ourselves and become fat and lazy. We have rested on the laurels of men who “knew evil when they saw it” and let others carry the conflict. Now we see more clearly that we have little choice but to rejoin the battle.

The enemy of freedom is no longer at the gates, it is in the living-room.

OldEnglish on June 6, 2009 at 8:12 PM

Indeed it is, but it always was. The first and greatest enemies of freedom are our own apathy and cowardice; if we can defeat them then we can surely overcome the rest.

When the darkness increases, the light will seem to shine more brightly and as the confusing shades of gray fade to blackness the choices will become more distinct. Many will choose the light.

YiZhangZhe on June 6, 2009 at 9:13 PM

If D Day happened on June 6, 2009 “People of the world. first let me apologize for American arrogance which has led to hostility on the part of the Socialist People of Germany and their misunderstood, avuncular chancellor who, were it not for American interference, would even now be raising money for the Red Cross and be engaged in other peaceful pursuits.

The real evil lies with America imperialism which has turned ordinary toy makers, chocolate manufacturers, musicians and philosophers into hostile German soldiers. Also I find the term ‘Nazi’ distasteful and insulting to the easily offended , highly sensitive and non-violent German population. Henceforth ‘Nazis’ shall be referred to as ‘Overseas Flower Children’.

As a show of remorse for our meddling I have permanently called off the D Day invasion because we all know that such hostility would only create more ‘Overseas Flower Children’. The German people are not as stupid as arrogant Americans think they are. They were taught a lesson in World War I and (except for an extremely tiny minority) have remained peaceful ever since

Sincerely, BHO”

MaiDee on June 6, 2009 at 9:40 PM

Just curious, do you defend FDR throwing all of those Japanese-Americans into concentration camps in 1942?

Del Dolemonte on June 6, 2009 at 5:02 PM

It hardly NEEDS defending. Michelle Malkin has ALREADY penned an EXCELLENT book on the matter. ANYONE that “brings this up” simply HASN’T done their homework. I’ve had MANY long conversations with family members who were eye-witnesses. The “concentration camps” you refer to, like the one located on Heart Mountain between Cody and Powell Wyoming was a country club compared to what our WW2 veterans had to put up with.

In 1942-1943, the Heart Mountain camp was the second largest “city” IN Wyoming. My mother and her sister were eye witnesses to the entire episode. The house where I grew-up is located about 13 miles from the former Heart Mountain camp site. Today, my 84 year-old aunt lives about 10 miles from that site. Here are some FACTS for you:

1) The Japanese people in the Heart Mountain camp were both permitted AND actually encouraged to seek employment in the nearby communities of Cody and Powell. Why? — because all of the men were GONE — seems they were pretty busy in places like North Africa, Italy, and an assortment of little Islands in the Pacific that hardly anyone had ever HEARD of. My aunt can tell you that the locals were VERY happy to have the Japanese there — they were INSTRUMENTAL in bringing in the farmers’ crops during their stay in the area. (Try farming in Wyoming without any men sometime.) And, why yes, the Japanese internees were well treated and they were paid for their labor.

2) My mother (now deceased, God rest her soul) and her sister have BOTH told me that, at times, they and some of other local towns people in the area were actually ENVIOUS of the Japanese in the Heart mountain camp. Why? — because the Federal government delivered SOME goods to the camp that were either rationed or that were impossible to find (at any price) in the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming in 1942-1943.

3) Yes, it’s true, viz. the housing constructed for the Japanese internees at the Heart mountain camp were little more that tar paper shacks — and the winters are cold and brutal. Cry me a river. You should see the shack that my father grew-up in located less than 10 miles from the Heart Mountain camp in Powell, Wyoming. My grandmother gave birth to 13 children, raised her brood in that shack, and even took-in some “strays” from time-to-time — and YES, the winters were EVERY BIT as brutal there as there were at the Heart Mountain camp.

4) A few years back, our government spent A LOT of money building quite a nice memorial at the Heart Mountain site –and yes, I HAVE stopped by there and looked it over. Some of the internees returned to the Heart Mountain site for the dedication ceremony of that memorial. There was a BIG write-up in the Seattle Times Sunday newspaper. I know because not only did I read it, but I emailed links to the web-site versions of the articles to Michelle Malkin — thinking that she might be interested since she used to work for Seattle Times, and because she mentions the Heart Mountain camp in her book (In Defense of Internment: The Case for ‘Racial Profiling’ in World War II and the War on Terror ). One of the former Japanese internees, who was a just a young boy in 1942-1943, was interviewed and quoted at length in the Times article. I told Michelle Malkin that I had a good laugh at the man’s remarks because he complained not once, but twice, about (Here it comes…are you ready for this?) the WIND in Wyoming. He said he hated it because the dust was EVERYWHERE. Funny thing — he didn’t say ANYTHING about being shelled by artillery, shot-at, tortured, starved, or mistreated while he was in that camp. Gee. I wonder why?

5) Meanwhile, my father and his brothers (from Powell, Wyoming) who fought in WW2 had just a BIT more to complain about than the Wyoming wind. One of my uncles enlisted in the U.S. Army and served with Patton’s troops in both the North Africa campaign and in the invasion of Sicily — he received a purple heart for his trouble. Another one of my uncles was a U.S Marine in the Pacific theater and was one of only three surviving members of his group after the battle on Iwo Jima.

6) Today, alongside Interstate 80 on the slopes of Elk mountain in Wyoming (in-between Rawlins and Laramie Wyoming), you will find one of the largest electricity generating wind-mill farms in the United States. Yes, it seems, that there are places in Wyoming that have the highest sustained wind-energy density of any place in the lower 48 states. Wanna’ know something funny? Guess who designed and built all those windmills? Yup. That’s right. It was a Japanese engineering firm.

So collie, tell me, is there a moral to the story?

My collie says:

Why, yes, I think there is. Apparently, one Japanese man’s war-time “environmental misfortune” is yet another Japanese man’s investment opportunity.

You’re smarter than you look, collie.

CyberCipher on June 6, 2009 at 11:28 PM

To my late Uncle Bob Y., my beloved Uncle the late Jack Y., my Uncles General Tom Y., Vincent Y. and Paul Y. I say thank you and God bless you.

To my Grandmother the late Maude Y., I can only say wow.

Jaibones on June 7, 2009 at 12:16 AM

YiZhangZhe on June 6, 2009 at 9:13 PM

But, do we have to wait until the lights actually go out? If that’s what it will take to stir the sheeple this time round, we have lost our way.

The war of the peace, as you say, is ongoing, but only one side seems to be firing the bullets.

Since the end of WWII, the Left has been making constant inroads, to the detriment of those who seek freedom from all oppression, yet the sheeple remain blind. I fear that when the light does come, they won’t see it.

OldEnglish on June 7, 2009 at 1:03 AM

The war of the peace, as you say, is ongoing, but only one side seems to be firing the bullets.

Yes, exactly. Only one side has been persuing its ambitions. Our opponents have made progress not because they had better men or better ideas but because they have encountered no significant opposition.

Conservatives have been idle or reactive while the enemies of freedom have been busy and proactive with their idealistically naive, ill-conceived schemes.

Even this HotAir blog is reactive, not proactive.

“Implementation is everything”.
“He who dares, wins”

Admittedly it is easier to agitate for change than for constancy but there are plenty of changes conservatives could agitate for. We need to take the initiative and stop letting the fools define the agenda.

Since the end of WWII, the Left has been making constant inroads, to the detriment of those who seek freedom from all oppression, yet the sheeple remain blind. I fear that when the light does come, they won’t see it.
OldEnglish on June 7, 2009 at 1:03 AM

The sheep follow those who lead.

Conservatives haven’t been leading but, instead have been abstaining, abdicating, absconding and acquiescing.

The D-Day anniversary is a time to remember that we need to be proactive and put our opponents on the defensive. Fighting for freedom means leaving our comfort zones and taking the battle to the enemy rather than waiting for him to tell us what moves we are allowed to make.

YiZhangZhe on June 7, 2009 at 9:14 AM

Conservatives haven’t been leading but, instead have been abstaining, abdicating, absconding and acquiescing.

YiZhangZhe on June 7, 2009 at 9:14 AM

True – in several countries. Let’s hope that the slight move to the right that some countries have recently taken will encourage others to do likewise.

The sacrifices made by the fallen may be in our minds, but they are not being reflected in our actions.

OldEnglish on June 7, 2009 at 10:01 AM