Today is the 76th anniversary of the landing on the beaches of France by the Allied Armies (D-Day). General Dwight Eisenhower chose to go on that day because the weather reports showed that day as the only possible window in a stormy period. He met with his troops before the invasion to talk to them and send them off with prayers and well wishes. He composed a letter to be read in case the invasion failed. The letter took full responsibility for that failure if it occurred. Because of the leadership of Dwight Eisenhower and the courage of the American, Canadian, and British troops, we are free today to do our Saturday errands, enjoy our children, and generally live our lives in freedom.
This is the text of the letter General Eisenhower wrote in case the invasion failed:
“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”
Just a quick personal note about D Day–my father was one of the soldiers who landed on Utah beach. He never talked much about his wartime experiences, but there are two things I remember from talking to him. When the Allied troops landed on Utah Beach, they had been blown off course by the winds and heavy surf. Because of that, they landed in a place that was less fortified by the Germans and were able to more forward more quickly than they might have otherwise moved. The other thing he mentioned was the total secrecy surrounding the invasion. There were cardboard tanks placed in England to make it look as if they were going ashore at Calais (which was the closest point to England). Everything was top secret–but the payday before the invasion, they were paid in French francs!!!