Friday, June 6, 2014

Seventy Years Ago...

Operation Overlord after 70 years
For most Americans today, what they know about Operation Overlord, which began in the pre-dawn hours of June 6, 1944, 70 years ago, is probably what they glean from two movies shown mostly around Memorial Day and Veteran's Day.

The 1962 docudrama, "The Longest Day," based on the 1959 book by Cornelius Ryan, covers the 24 hours from evening June 5 to evening June 6. The 1998 movie, "Saving Private Ryan," is a fictional story, using the D-Day landings as the historical setting, about a U.S. Army Ranger squad detailed to find the fourth son, an American paratrooper somewhere in Normandy, of a family who had already lost three sons to the war.
It has been 70 years since D-Day.


I've always marveled at the courage shown by the men that went ashore on D-Day. Facing entrenched German soldiers in fortified pill boxes with belt-fed machine guns, these guys went ashore with basically hunting rifles. Don't get me wrong; the Garand is a great rifle, but there's no way on G-d's Green Earth I'd want to face down an MG-42 with just a Garand.

And these guys jumped out of the boats, waded ashore, and were cut to ribbons by the thousands. And yet they still kept coming. Facing one of the most fearsome war machines the world has ever seen, these guys came ashore, killed the bad guys, freed prisoners, and basically saved the damn world. Not content with that, they came home, built the USA into the shining city on the hill, and retired to Florida.

There was a time when giants walked this earth, and seventy years ago many of them never came home.

That is all.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was fortunate enough to be in Normandy with some of the paratroopers for the 50th Anniversary. It was quite something, even if all the political VIPs made trying to get around a pain in the patoot.

LittleRed1

Bubblehead Les. said...

Uh, this was the FOURTH Time the Americans went up against those German Pill Boxes. I remind everyone of the North Africa Campaign, Sicily and Italy, all of which saw Courage beyond Belief displayed, and Treasure beyond measure Lost.

And of course, to the Military Personnel who were fighting in the Pacific and the China-Burma-India Campaign, and the Battle of the Atlantic and the Air Wars, D-Day was just another Day in Hell.

To ALL the World War Two Vets, such as my Uncle Paul Nagy,Jr and my Father-in-Law Clifford V. Walsh, both Living and Dead, Bravo Zulu.

Roy said...

Thank You, Bubblehead Les, for stating what generally goes unsaid in the commemoration of the Normandy landings. In terms of numbers, the Normandy invasion was indeed the greatest amphibious landing in history. But never forget that it was the latest in a long line of amphibious landings to that point. And remember; Normandy was staged from England, just over the horizon from the landing beaches, with the Allies having resounding control of the sea and air. The North Africa campaign was staged from... Virginia, with thousands of miles of U-boat infested water between the staging area and the coast of Morocco.

Also, let's not forget what came after Normandy - The amphibious landings in the invasion of the Philippines at Leyte Gulf, and the invasion of Okinawa.

And one last thing, because it is a pet peeve of mine. "America" did not save the world alone. The *allies* saved the world. It was very much a team effort.

Stretch said...

I was thinking of cleaning my M1 while listening to Glenn Miller.
But the tears would just rust the rifle.
So here's to Uncle Bob, Uncle Jack, Uncle John, Uncle Jimmy, and Father-in-law Joe. Greatest in so many ways.

Robert said...

"The 1998 movie, "Saving Private Ryan," is a fictional story, using the D-Day landings as the historical setting, about a U.S. Army Ranger squad detailed to find the fourth son, an American paratrooper somewhere in Normandy, of a family who had already lost three sons to the war."

A bit late to this post, but SPR was based on a true story of a paratrooper that was pulled out of combat in Normandy when thought his three brothers were all KIA (Turns out one was a POW instead). Wasn't named Ryan though, and the rest of the movie is all fictional, but the premise behind it was real. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niland_brothers