Today is June 6 and So What?
It’s June 6 and no one’s noticed.
I see nothing about the date in U.S. newspapers or on TV or the net.
Seventy-one years ago this day marked the beginning of the end of the colossal world war against fascism and imperialism, the Second World War.
We Americans fought in that war beside Allies who, like us, knew that to lose the war was to lose everything we had and maybe everything we hoped for ourselves.
We fought for our lives against two gigantic evils, fascism in Europe and imperialism in the Pacific.
Against enemies who were better prepared for war, better equipped, better trained and in too many ways more inventive at making war than we were.
But we had to fight them. We had no choice.
On June 6, 1944, today, 160,000 Allied troops splashed onto the Normandy shore in the teeth of fierce German gunfire to begin the final extirpation of Nazism. U.S., British and Canadian troops. Soldiers, too, from Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland.
Supported by the Royal Navy and the U.S Navy. By airborne landings. By bomber and fighterbomber attacks. By attacks and sabotage against German forces by the French underground. By Soviet forces pinning down German divisions on the eastern front in Russia’s own desperate fight for survival.
Indirectly supported by prisoners suffering in Nazi death camps and POWs in their camps, all of them diverting from Normandy forces the Germans could better use in fighting off the invasion.
4,500 Allied soldiers, sailors and airmen were killed this day. 8,000 more wounded.
24 Allied warships were sunk. 35 merchantmen went down. 120 more vessels were damaged.
Normandy was a near-won thing. We could have been pushed off the beach.
If the Germans had not been deceived about the true point of our attack and about the weather, it could have been a disaster. If we had not made other things go our way in the run up to the invasion, it could have been a disaster.
We could have lost our chance this day to break Nazi power. The war in Europe may have gone on years longer than it did. The war may have been lost.
But the fighting men on the beaches that day and all the men and women around the world supporting them would not let this chance be lost.
209,000 Allied fighting men were killed or wounded in the battles that followed to take and hold Normandy as the final launch pad for the destruction of Nazi power.
“D-day. June 6, 1944. Today.”
That is what should be the headline on every newspaper today, the lead on every TV news broadcast, the header on the net.
Do we really need to be reminded to remember this great day and year?
© 2015 Steven Hardesty