Freedom isn't free: 71 years ago, D-Day
A helpful reminder for those who think anything that happened before they were born is ancient history at best, or totally prehistoric at worst.
Today is the 71st anniversary of D-Day, the day the U.S. Allied Forces invaded the Nazi-occupied French beaches of Normandy, which was the beginning of the end for the Germans. From the D-Day site, some grim statistics remind us, tritely but truthfully, that freedom isn't free. Rather, it exacts a terrible price. However, the price of oppression is higher.
Overlord was the largest air, land, and sea operation undertaken before or since June 6, 1944. The landing included over 5,000 ships, 11,000 airplanes, and over 150,000 service men. After years of meticulous planning and seemingly endless training, for the Allied Forces, it all came down to this: The boat ramp goes down, then jump, swim, run, and crawl to the cliffs. Many of the first young men (most not yet 20 years old) entered the surf carrying eighty pounds of equipment. They faced over 200 yards of beach before reaching the first natural feature offering any protection. Blanketed by small-arms fire and bracketed by artillery, they found themselves in hell. When it was over, the Allied Forces had suffered nearly 10,000 casualties; more than 4,000 were dead. Yet somehow, due to planning and preparation, and due to the valor, fidelity, and sacrifice of the Allied Forces, Fortress Europe had been breached.
And as for the name "D-Day":
The terms D-Day and H-Hour are used for the day and hour on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. They designate day and hour for an operation when the actual day and hour have not yet been determined or announced. The letters are derived from the words for which they stand, "D" for the day of the invasion and "H" for the hour the operation actually begins. When used in combination with figures and plus or minus signs, these terms indicate the length of time preceding or following a specific action. Thus, H-3 means 3 hours before H-hour, and D+3 means 3 days after D-day. H+75 minutes means H-hour plus 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Those "most not yet 20 years old" boys/men still alive would be 90 years old now. So we in the USA thank you. Maybe the French, British, Belgians, and other Europeans will remember to do so also.