June 6, 2014, - 2:47 pm
D-Day at 70: Would America Have the Guts to Do it Today? Probably Not; The Valor of Those Who Died, Lived to Tell
So, today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, and I’m not so sure America would have the guts to do it again today. On June 6, 1944, Allied forces landed in Nazi-occupied France and began the liberation of Europe. Our soldiers stormed Omaha Beach in Normandy. But would we have the fortitude to do it again? To sacrifice so many lives in a stark good versus evil battle? We no longer have the nerve and the determination and a good part of that is “leaders” and influencers who’ve caused America to fatigue from the right battles as they constantly put us or try to put us in the wrong battles.
We’ve repeatedly condemned our ally Israel for defending itself right off its own coast. And we’re doing nothing about the enemy, the new Nazis–Muslims–expanding their wide berth on our own shores. It’s not only as if we have forgotten, but as if those men on Omaha Beach died for nothing–to defeat a vicious enemy abroad while we now welcome a more vicious enemy to repeatedly expand and infiltrate our shores at every opportunity.
I snicker as I watch various talking heads on TV, various newscasters, and various editorialists and columnists writing about how they remember the sacrifices of D-Day, while they’ve spent the last several years making sure we’ll never make that sacrifice again because they’ve urged us to go to war in favor of evil in Iraq (handing over the country to Iranian backed Shi’ite extremists), to war in Afghanistan (where we could never win in the way our current politically correct generals force our soldiers to engage in “hearts and minds” crap and hand out candy and give their lives to build roads for those who hate us), to war in Syria (where thankfully we haven’t yet gone but where our weapons and CIA advisers are there helping Al-Qaeda savages), to threaten to go to war in Ukraine (where we would be siding with neo-Nazis against Communists, yet another Alien v. Predator scenario).
And that’s not to mention that many of these news anchors, reporters, talking heads, and opinionists have repeatedly told us that America is the bad guy in all the wars in which we did participate (and that we need to “understand” and be “tolerant” of the most extreme Muslim practices on U.S. soil), so why would Americans support going to war when they’ve been preached to and programmed to think that they are evil, rather than our enemies and those that we are fighting? Americans no longer see themselves as having the moral high ground in the world. They’ve been taught the exact opposite by academia, the media, and Hollywood. They don’t feel about themselves and this country the way they did in 1944 or even in 1984.
And, today, around the world, American liberators who sacrifice life and limb for the freedom of others are often chased out with hate–mostly the hate that dominates Islam around the world. We, Americans, prosecute them because they might have urinated on a corpse of a Taliban terrorist. What message does that send? Not any message that is in the keeping of the legacy of D-Day. I’m sure more than a few of the men at D-Day pissed on some dead Nazis. And nobody turned it into an international tribunal-worthy crisis.
All of this has long ago caused Americans to fatigue of sending our men out to fight and win wars. And, one day, there will be another just war with stark good versus evil like when we fought the Nazis. And we won’t want to go. We won’t even believe that–despite being hit by the enemy as we were to bring us into World War II–that we are just in responding and defending ourselves and prosecuting a military defense and offense that is necessary for any great Western nation to survive when it is attacked as we were at Pearl Harbor and as the British were repeatedly with Nazi bombings.
24,000 Allied airborne troops landed in France, then occupied by the Nazis. 156,000 Allied servicemen, a good deal of them Americans, came off of more than 5,000 ships and Higgins landing craft into non-stop gunfire from Nazis. 2,499–most of them Americans–died in a single day and the total causualties were 4,414. I don’t think Americans–too busy to be distracted from shopping at H&M and watching the Kim Kardashian-Kanye West honeymoon on TMZ–would want to interrupt their spoiled lives to go off and fight Nazi tyranny. And tyranny would rule Europe today. It would probably also rule America, because America would be too selfish to stop Hitler. Too interested in being “tolerant” of the Nazi “lifestyle” which “we shouldn’t judge just because it’s different from ours.” That’s how we’re taught to think in today’s America.
I wish the world would never forget the valor and sacrifice made by all of those brave men 70 years ago today, but I’m afraid that their legacy is lost upon most Americans and definitely most Westerners today. I really don’t think that the men who died on that day died so that the Detroit Zoo would have trilingual signs in Arabic and Spanish. Do you? I also don’t think the men who landed at Omaha Beach would have traded five Himmlers to obtain the freedom of a deserter who sympathized with and helped the Third Reich. Do you? (And even the Nazis we did catch were POWs, not “enemy combatants,” something we went to great lengths to legally designate these forever-committed terrorist masterminds who won’t stop their quest to kill us.)
It’s sad because many who embarked on the Normandy Invasion never came home. Or if they did, it was in body bags. The world should never forget their valiant fight. But sadly it mostly has, already. Most of the men who survived that day are long gone now. And the last surviving participants, as witnesses and voices speaking out about the costs of American freedom and liberty and what must be given to have it, are fading out, too.
Clara Gaymard, head of French operations for General Electric Co., is spot on: “We are the generation that has taken for granted that they fought on the beaches.” But I would add, the youngest generations, the Gen-Y-ers and beyond, not only take it for granted, they don’t know anything about it or care to. “The Edge of Tomorrow,” the new Tom Cruise futuristic movie out today, has a tribute and salute to D-Day, but most who see it won’t get that or even have a clue (stay tuned for my review later today).
G-d Bless America and the souls of those courageous, valorous men who gave their lives at Normandy and those who survived to tell about it. Let’s hope that something changes in our sinking country to re-establish the value–and the memory–that must be placed on the momentous events of seven decades ago today.
CAEN, France—When John C. Raaen Jr. stormed Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, he was a 22-year-old captain leading his fellow U.S. Army Rangers into a hail of Nazi gunfire. Today, he is a 92-year-old retired general who faces a different challenge: The generation of veterans who turned the tide of World War II with the D-Day landing and survived to tell their story is literally dying off.
“I haven’t seen a single soul that I know here that had anything to do with the Rangers,” Gen. Raaen said after walking the windswept shores of Normandy a day before the 70th anniversary of history’s biggest amphibious offensive. . . . For decades, D-Day commemorations have served as a potent reminder of the shared sacrifice of American, Canadian, British and other Western forces to free Europe from the clutches of totalitarianism. Not only was the battle pivotal in defeating Adolf Hitler, it turned the page on centuries of European bloodshed, leading the way to a new order. . . .
Veterans such as Gen. Raaen play a crucial role in the commemorations, providing the living testimony that underpins the battle’s historical legacy. For many veterans, however, Friday’s D-Day milestone is likely to be their last. With every year that passes, fewer and fewer veterans can muster strength to report to the commemorations. When Gen. Raaen traveled to Normandy a decade ago, he was accompanied by about 25 veterans and four historians. On his current visit, he says, it is the other way around: only a few veterans were able to come, along with a couple dozen historians.
“The passing of veterans means that the event enters the realm of history, and is no longer in the realm of the personal experience,” said Rob Citino, a historian at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. . . .
Thomas Blakey, a then-23-year-old from Houston, parachuted behind enemy lines, landing in the early-morning dark on a mission to capture and hold La Fière Bridge. “I was expecting to be up to my elbows and armpits in Germans trying to kill me,” recalled Mr. Blakey, who is now 93 and walks with the help of a cane.
Then-Capt. Raaen’s battalion was charged with taking Omaha Beach, where American troops suffered around 2,000 casualties. As his landing craft approached the beachhead, a group of boats just ahead of him ran into heavy German gunfire and artillery. “We could tell they were being cut to shreds,” he said. The former captain couldn’t see where the gunfire was coming from as he hit the beach with a 50-yard jog ahead of him. Instead, Gen. Raaen recalled 70 years later, the sound of bullets that whizzed by his head “like you had kicked a beehive.”
The soldier survived the onslaught, and the Allies conquered the coastline. Today, Gen. Raaen is battling time itself. To make it to the 75th anniversary, he quips, a wheelchair might be in order. Mr. Blakey, tired after a day trip to the American veterans’ cemetery, pledged to return in years to come “if I live long enough.”
Graves of American Soldiers Who Gave Their Lives in WWII at Normandy: Hmmm . . . Which Religious Symbol is Missing?
Tags: Clara Gaymard, D-Day, D-Day 70 years ago, D-Day 70 years later, D-Day 70th Anniversary, D-day at 70, John D. Raaen Jr., Nazis, Normandy, Omaha Beach, Thomas Blakey, World War II