D Day remembered (updated)

Otis A. Glazebrook IV
Today is the 64th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of France, and is the day following the anniversary of Ronald Reagan's death. What better way to commemorate both events than to read Reagan's great speech on the 40th Anniversary about the "Boys of Point du-Hoc", or watch it via a YouTube link.

In the face of the current crop of Presidential candidates, we would do well to pause and remember two aphorisms from President Reagan:

Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have.

And:

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.
Ronald Reagan

Update -- John B. Dwyer writes:

Army combat engineers such as Wesley Ross of B Company, 146th Engineer Combat Battalion, experienced the D-Day landings with maximum violence.  Along with Naval Combat Demolition Units, their mission was to blow up beach obstacles, creating gaps so infantry and vehicles could move ahead.  They were in the midst of that mortal chaos. 

 2nd LT Wesley C. Ross commanded Boat Crew #8 of an Army-Navy gap assault team.  He wrote about his experiences here.  After you read you'll understand why he earned the Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor. Excerpt:

"Running in multiple short dashes and hitting the ground often, denied the enemy gunners an easy target. Bullets knocked splinters from the wooden obstacles overhead after I hit the ground--or so I heard later! I ran the ring main clockwise around the wooden obstacles and Sgt Bill Garland ran his ring main around counter-clockwise. We square-knotted the ring mains together where we met. We then joined the team, who had almost finished tying on the C-2 charges. Sgt Grosvenor apologized for not performing per plan. My response--"we got the job done--end of conversation". It was never mentioned again.

While proceeding with the placement of the charges, I just happened to be looking eastward into the pre-sunrise sky, when an artillery round hit the sand sixty feet away. It ricocheted twenty feet into the air and its pointed nose was clearly visible against the morning sky before exploding. It split along its length and sent a two foot long "V-shaped" chunk of steel flopping over and over toward the northeast! High explosive artillery rounds are designed to produce multiple high velocity fragments, so this was a faulty round--the result of slave labor sabotage?? If so, it was much appreciated!

We were under heavy small arms fire almost immediately and machine guns, mostly unseen by me, were tracking our movement. I saw three riflemen slinking to my left, in defilade behind the natural sandbank seawall above the high water line. They were heading east toward the fortified house near the mouth of les Moulins Draw, but I was too busy to monitor their progress. These men may have been from our infantry covering force--the first contingent ashore from the 116th Infantry--and if so, may have been attempting to silence the enemy machine gun fire from the fortified house."


Today is the 64th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of France, and is the day following the anniversary of Ronald Reagan's death. What better way to commemorate both events than to read Reagan's great speech on the 40th Anniversary about the "Boys of Point du-Hoc", or watch it via a YouTube link.

In the face of the current crop of Presidential candidates, we would do well to pause and remember two aphorisms from President Reagan:

Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have.

And:

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.
Ronald Reagan

Update -- John B. Dwyer writes:

Army combat engineers such as Wesley Ross of B Company, 146th Engineer Combat Battalion, experienced the D-Day landings with maximum violence.  Along with Naval Combat Demolition Units, their mission was to blow up beach obstacles, creating gaps so infantry and vehicles could move ahead.  They were in the midst of that mortal chaos. 

 2nd LT Wesley C. Ross commanded Boat Crew #8 of an Army-Navy gap assault team.  He wrote about his experiences here.  After you read you'll understand why he earned the Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor. Excerpt:

"Running in multiple short dashes and hitting the ground often, denied the enemy gunners an easy target. Bullets knocked splinters from the wooden obstacles overhead after I hit the ground--or so I heard later! I ran the ring main clockwise around the wooden obstacles and Sgt Bill Garland ran his ring main around counter-clockwise. We square-knotted the ring mains together where we met. We then joined the team, who had almost finished tying on the C-2 charges. Sgt Grosvenor apologized for not performing per plan. My response--"we got the job done--end of conversation". It was never mentioned again.

While proceeding with the placement of the charges, I just happened to be looking eastward into the pre-sunrise sky, when an artillery round hit the sand sixty feet away. It ricocheted twenty feet into the air and its pointed nose was clearly visible against the morning sky before exploding. It split along its length and sent a two foot long "V-shaped" chunk of steel flopping over and over toward the northeast! High explosive artillery rounds are designed to produce multiple high velocity fragments, so this was a faulty round--the result of slave labor sabotage?? If so, it was much appreciated!

We were under heavy small arms fire almost immediately and machine guns, mostly unseen by me, were tracking our movement. I saw three riflemen slinking to my left, in defilade behind the natural sandbank seawall above the high water line. They were heading east toward the fortified house near the mouth of les Moulins Draw, but I was too busy to monitor their progress. These men may have been from our infantry covering force--the first contingent ashore from the 116th Infantry--and if so, may have been attempting to silence the enemy machine gun fire from the fortified house."