70 years ago, free men stood against evil – and evil failed

posted at 8:01 am on June 6, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

There is little to say or write about D-Day that hasn’t already been expressed over the past seventy years by those more eloquent than me, or especially by those who took part in the greatest invasion in human history, and for the noblest purpose. Some events challenge not just the imagination, but even language itself. Seventy years ago, the assault on the beaches of Normandy by the free men of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and units from the countries occupied by the Nazi horror remains perhaps the most stunning act of determination and defiance in history, as 160,000 men stormed Fortress Europe and sent evil reeling — thousands of whom would die that day for freedom.

General Dwight David Eisenhower sent them to Normandy with this message:

The US Army has this remembrance from the men who lived to tell the stories of D-Day and its triumph over tyranny:

Not too many of these men are with us today. We have lost many to time, and only a handful are on hand to recall for us the bravery, horror, and need of that day, and the price we must pay for our continued blessings of freedom. Wisconsin’s WBAY interviewed Bob Reeners, who had not quite reached his 20th birthday on D-Day, recalls the horror of that day and the memories of those who died to overcome the massive tyranny that had enslaved a continent:

WBAY

“There was an invasion fleet. It looked like you could have walked all the way back to England and never gotten wet. There also was a black cloud approaching from England, and as it got closer it wasn’t a cloud at all; it was aircraft of all kinds, hundreds of them,” recalls Reeners.

Within seconds of reaching shore, Reeners says the beach erupted in gunfire and explosions from U.S. planes overhead and German troops on land.

“I don’t know how the hell anything withstood the bombardment that beach took. It was shelled. It was bombed.
Reeners’s crew spent the day stocking the beach with ammo and equipment.

At one point, a lone German fighter plane zeroed in.

“There we were, naked as a jay bird, strafing the beach, no cover. You hit the sand and you hear those damn bullets just pounding all around you. When it’s all over you, you can’t believe it,” says Reeners. …

More than 9,000 Americans were killed or wounded.

With tears in his eyes, Reeners says, “As a survivor you think of all those men, cut down in the prime of their life. It tears my heart out, here I am 90 years old almost, living a rich full life, these men were denied that, they fought and lost, everything.”

They certainly gave everything they had — so that we might live free, and not just in Europe but in America as well. Many of them gave their lives for a freedom to which they knew they might never return, but those men gave us that precious gift. May we remember them, and the men who survived and kept fighting and then returned home to build their lives and families too. We owe them a debt that can only barely be imagined, but can be repaid with constant vigilance and dedication to the cause for which they fought.

Freedom.

Update: Because it’s always worth watching, here is Ronald Reagan’s address at Normandy 30 years ago:


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Tlaloc on June 6, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Russian casualties were certainly high, but some of that was their own doing. They used human wave assault tactics that resulted in high casualties. They routinely executed soldiers who were suspected of cowardice. Russian POWs who managed to escape were often executed upon their return to Russian lines. Also, Stalin forbid civilians from fleeing large cities under siege which led to hundreds of thousands of civilians starving to death in Leningrad and Stalingrad.

The Communists simply did not place a high value on the lives of their soldiers and their tactics reflected that. As Stalin famously said: “The death of one man is a tragedy. The deaths of millions is a statistic.”

Captain Kirock on June 6, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Our foreign policy ever since World War 2 has been focused on one thing: never get forced into an existential fight like WW2 again. We won that war, but at great cost.

That doesn’t mean that our foreign policy has always been good, obviously. But we should be very careful about dismissing the lessons learned about appeasement and weakness during WW2.

There Goes the Neighborhood on June 6, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Above my desk as I type this is the map of the German defences around Port-en-Bessin that my father carried with him on D-day.

God Bless you dad, and all of the men who did this for us and our freedom.

Trafalgar on June 6, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Great post!

Captain Kirock on June 6, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Just can’t seem to come up with appropriate words for this.
Must be too much pollen in the air or something messing with me while reading these stories…

dentarthurdent on June 6, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Repel an evil like Nazism? They’ve now infested the entire Federal Government. They don’t call themselves that, but the ideology is nearly identical.

Meople on June 6, 2014 at 11:31 AM

Very true. The national Socialists of 2014 have a lot in common with the National Socialists of the 1930′s.

See the following 2 comments for just a few of the similarities…


http://hotair.com/archives/2008/09/27/missouri-governor-goes-nuclear-on-obama-for-using-prosecutors-on-campaign-truth-squad/comment-page-1/#comment-1467268

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/04/01/confirmed-queens-ipod-includes-obamas-speeches/comment-page-1/#comment-2051029

The list has only grown in the last 5 years…

ITguy on June 6, 2014 at 1:48 PM

…my mom and dad were in the Dutch underground…(their official war lasted all of 2 days)…they “revered” every DDay anniversary while they were alive!

KOOLAID2 on June 6, 2014 at 1:55 PM

D-Day?
Dude,that was like 70 years ago.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on June 6, 2014 at 2:05 PM

Didn’t have any relatives I know of who participated with the D-Day landings, but one of my uncles was killed in Saarlautern, Germany (65th “Halberd” Infantry Division) about a month before the war ended…looking at a photo of him in uniform and his Flag right now. Left behind a wife and a little boy.

One of his nephews served in SF in Vietnam-he still has grenade fragments you can see under his skin on the top of his hands.

My father suffered from complications due to Agent Orange he was exposed to while he was at Cam Ranh Bay AFB.

War-the gift that keeps on giving.

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 6, 2014 at 2:09 PM

D-Day. The 6th June 1944 and Churchill addressed the House of Commons with this speech. He detailed successes in both Italy and the initial successes of the landings on Norman beaches by the huge allied liberating armies. Read this then watch “Saving Private Ryan”!

Churchills speech on D-Day in the House of Commons:

http://www.winston-churchill-leadership.com/speech-d-day.html

Scrumpy on June 6, 2014 at 2:39 PM

I want to say Thank You to all of you who have family members who were there on the beaches at D-Day.

Your sacrifices saved us in England from a german hell.

I am and will always be, eternally grateful for all those sacrifices
so that I could be free from Tyranny.

I am blessed and so fortunate now to live in the US.

Your sacrifices have not and will never go quiet.

Thank You so much for everything…

Scrumpy on June 6, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Please take time to read about the four D-Day Medal of Honor recipients that I blogged about today:

Private Carlton W. Barrett

First Lieutenant Jimmie W. Monteith, Jr.

Technician 5th Grade John J. Pinder, Jr.

Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.

Please tune in to my “Their Finest Hour” program on Vigilant Liberty Radio Monday night, likely with a special start time of 9pm — the program Monday night is a D-Day tribute show.

allanbourdius on June 6, 2014 at 2:59 PM

I also do not forget the sacrifices of my fellow Brits, who all along the east coast ferried men to the beaches in every vessel they could lay their hands on.

Many died, so many lives lost for our freedom.

My Uncle was a Merchant Marine diver who unarmed those terrible underwater mines…

My Grandfather was in Egypt fighting against the germans, they both survived.

Scrumpy on June 6, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Twitter is picking up on the fact the Dear Leader was smacking gum during the entire D Day ceremony. Classy and oh so smart.

d1carter on June 6, 2014 at 3:32 PM

This former Marine salutes the Greatest Generation and the men who fought in both theaters. My service pales into microscopic insignificance when juxtaposed with yours.

God Bless You and SEMPER FIDELIS

nico on June 6, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Von Kleist on June 6, 2014 at 12:05 PM

The late Jack Kinsella wrote a tribute to the men of D-Day a few years ago. In it, he stated:

“There was something about them — they were quiet giants. These quiet giants not only shaped my world, they were the ones running it. They accomplished things ordinary men could never imagine. They looked ordinary — but they weren’t.”

I listen to Ronald Reagan’s speech from 1984 and ask myself how could we have fallen so far in just 30 years?

oldleprechaun on June 6, 2014 at 4:39 PM

WW2 was really won by russia

Tlaloc on June 6, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Wasn’t aware it was the Russians who dropped 2 atomic bombs on Japan.

F-

Del Dolemonte on June 6, 2014 at 5:38 PM

You do know that it was the Russians who really broke the Wehrmacht’s back, right? Sure we and the Brits and the aussies and loads of others helped, but WW2 was really won by russia, if you can count losing 13-16% of your total population as “wining.” (we lost way less than 1%, even the Brits lost only about 1%)

Tlaloc on June 6, 2014 at 12:09 PM

There was a war going on in Asia.

kcewa on June 6, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Don’t confuse with Unit with Facts. It is not programmed to respond in that area!

Del Dolemonte on June 6, 2014 at 5:40 PM

Above my desk as I type this is the map of the German defences around Port-en-Bessin that my father carried with him on D-day.

God Bless you dad, and all of the men who did this for us and our freedom.

Trafalgar on June 6, 2014 at 12:53 PM

To the left of my desk as I type this are two things: The shadowbox that holds my father’s flag from his casket and a picture of him and his 3 brothers in their WWII uniforms taken in 1945 after all four had come home safely. Even my uncle, who was one of the 101st airborne that parachuted into Normandy that day. How lucky I am to have had the honor of being a daughter and niece to these men.

TxAnn56 on June 6, 2014 at 5:56 PM

Yeah but if we had let Germany have Europe, do you think it would be overrun by Muslims today? Let’s face it, the USA has been a long term catastrophe for the western world. Americans have not been thinking long term, and we are already regretting it.

cimbri on June 6, 2014 at 6:08 PM

Yeah but if we had let Germany have Europe, do you think it would be overrun by Muslims today? Let’s face it, the USA has been a long term catastrophe for the western world. Americans have not been thinking long term, and we are already regretting it.

cimbri on June 6, 2014 at 6:08 PM

Go to a quiet, dark room. Get down on your knees and pray to God, thanking Him that there were brave men who were willing to die, and did, to preserve your right to make an utter fool of yourself.

Trafalgar on June 6, 2014 at 8:10 PM

Yeah but if we had let Germany have Europe, do you think it would be overrun by Muslims today? Let’s face it, the USA has been a long term catastrophe for the western world. Americans have not been thinking long term, and we are already regretting it.

cimbri on June 6, 2014 at 6:08 PM

Have you thought about moving to Cuba?

alanstern on June 6, 2014 at 9:00 PM

There was a small group (the size of which I don’t know) of French military who had escaped with the British at Dunkirk in 1940, who later participated in the D-Day invasion.
The French Underground were a minority, but that “minority” wreaked havoc between sundown June 5th and sunrise June 6th, 1944.
God bless those in the minority.
listens2glenn on June 6, 2014 at 10:25 AM

My dad was OSS and he worked with the French Underground, as well as many brave, unselfish, civilian Underground networks throughout Europe. He was always in awe of farmers, store keepers, cobblers and housewives, who started with old rifles and shotguns and became more adept than the trained enemy. Dad was in Europe prior to, during and after D-Day. He spoke 7 languages and he lied, cajoled and bamboozled the Germans in all of them. He suffered with profound Alzheimers in his later years, but was one of the most brilliant men I know and I miss him so much. I want to say rest easy, that everything is fine down here, but I’m ashamed to say, I can’t…so I’ll just say Thanks, daddy.

AppraisHer on June 6, 2014 at 10:47 PM

These threads are amongst the ones I enjoy the most here at HA. Sans the pollen problem. I enjoy them as they allow me to get to know my brothers and sisters here at HA in a much more personal way. Thank you all. May our Nation continue to enjoy the blessings our betters have extended to us.

Bmore on June 7, 2014 at 7:44 AM

America: cleaning up the messes caused by Europe for the last 100 years. Are Europeans appreciative of our sacrifices today?

nazo311 on June 7, 2014 at 7:52 AM

WW2 was really won by russia, if you can count losing 13-16% of your total population as “wining.” (we lost way less than 1%, even the Brits lost only about 1%)

Tlaloc on June 6, 2014 at 12:09 PM

I will gladly concede that Russia

However, once they helped us win – after initially siding WITH the Nazis – they promptly spend 50 years surpassing their bodycount in genocides (mostly internalized ones) and threatened to bring about a nuclear stone age.

Patton was dead right about them and we should’ve kept going after Berlin.

LawfulGood on June 7, 2014 at 8:19 AM

Stalin admitted privately that without Lend Lease, Russia would have lost the war and been forced to sue for peace. This program was especially critical in the early phases of the war, when the Russians were trying to stall the Germans before the first winter onset.

cimbri on June 7, 2014 at 10:35 PM

Little did those brave men know that they were fighting for a socialist police state run by a fascist.

earlgrey on June 7, 2014 at 11:12 PM

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