Day to remember D-Day sacrifices

Those who fought and survived the battles of World War II in general and D-Day in particular are old men now, and thousands die each day. Sometime in the next few years, the last American World War II veteran will finally claim their own place of peace and quiet, taking the last of the firsthand memories, leaving the telling of the battles to the historians.

It’s appropriate, then, that today, the 69th anniversary of D-Day, we honor those who were willing to stand tall against difficult odds to protect our freedoms. Their actions and sacrifices must never be forgotten.

That said, we would argue that the words written by Gen. Dwight David Eisenhower, supreme commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, and delivered to his troops before the start of Operation Overlord are as powerful today as they were when they were first distributed on June 6, 1944.

By the end of that day, D-Day, 9,000 Allied soldiers had been killed or wounded on the beaches of Normandy, France. Their sacrifices made it possible for a great army of more than 100,000 troops to climb the beachfront cliffs into France and begin their mission of defeating Adolph Hitler, the Nazis and the Axis powers.

It was a true turning point in history, one that marked the beginning of the end of the reign of terror and tyranny the madman Hitler had held for too long.

D-Day was the last time the free world was united in its cause, that there was no gray area. There was evil and good, freedom and tyranny, democracy and world domination.

We hope that everyone will pause to remember the sacrifice and effort that went into that operation. It’s in that spirit that we are proud to share Eisenhower’s dispatch:

Soldiers, Sailors and Airman of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

You are about to embark on the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere will march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

Good Luck! And let us beseech the blessing of the Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.