The D-Day Invasion - 68 Years
One can only imagine what the brave young soldiers felt as the gang planks of the Higgins boats dropped into the water, revealing to them the Atlantic wall – a fortress of barricades, barbed wire, 40-foot cliffs, and machine-gun bunkers. As soon as they jumped out, a hail of bullets rained down upon them.Soldiers whose boats couldn’t get any closer because of the mines dropped into 6 feet and more of water, drowned with their 50-pound packs still on. Others were blown to pieces at the water’s edge. Still, the young men came. There was no going back. They were not only obliged legally to go on, but morally. The 50-foot cliffs were an exemplar of the Nazi foe – menacing, hard, and fortified. The Nazis had spent years infiltrating Europe with their minions. Dollfuss, the president of Austria was murdered in his office. The editor of Berlin’s leading newspaper and his wife were dragged out of their beds in the middle of the night and butchered in the street.
England, our ally, was alone in the fight. She needed help. We’d provided material support but it wasn’t enough; she needed manpower. If France wasn’t liberated, eventually Germany would be able to mount an offensive against England from France’s shores and Europe’s last free democracy would fall.
Our American soldiers – along with their British, French, Australian, New Zealand, Canadian and other allies, the cream of the free world – demonstrated a courage we can’t begin to imagine today. We must watch such films as The Longest Day, Wake Island, Saving Private Ryan, and Tora Tora Tora to believe it.
We have heroes today, just as we did then, but the word has lost some of its shine, dulled by indifference, diffidence, and the propaganda of anti-war sentiment. Shame plays its part as well, knowing that we probably wouldn’t have the courage the men on the Normandy beaches displayed. We hope the surviving veterans of that war, and subsequent wars, will excuse if we pin the moniker of hero on their chests. Wear it for your fallen comrades, if for no other reason.
But courage seems to have experienced a rebirth yesterday with Gov. Scott Walker’s win in the disgraceful recall election in Wisconsin yesterday. Conservative voters in Wisconsin, it is said, turned out in record numbers to support their governor, while the opposing supporters wept with unmanly bitterness. Wisconsin demonstrated to the nation that with courage, common sense can win out over the mania for entitlements. They demonstrated that Wisconsin still believes in earning your way, being fiscally responsible, and freedom of choice.
The right to vote is a precious given earned in with the blood of over half a million men (and women) since the nation’s founding. The right to vote is what freedom is all about. It is not a chip to be thrown into a collective pool, bargaining itself away for the sake of free health care, pensions, education, or vacation homes in Florida.
Wisconsin (of all places!) demonstrated to the world what freedom truly means and what you can achieve with courage. Congratulations to Gov. Scott Walker and our gratitude to the state of Wisconsin. It’s been a tough climb for you, but you proved yesterday that freedom and courage did not perish 68 years ago today. Your heroism may very well prevent another half million young men from dying in arms to preserve freedom.