Monday, June 6, 2011

Remembering the Sixth of June

"Into the Jaws of Death: U.S. Troops Wading through Water and Nazi Gunfire" 

Franklin D. Roosevelt Library
Public Domain Photographs 1882-1962
ARC Identifier: 195515 

By Charles Moncrief

June 6 is the day we commemorate a military campaign in World War II. You may know the 1944 event as “D-Day,” “Operation Overlord,” or “the [Allied] Invasion of Normandy.” If your family lost a loved one who fought in that campaign, you may have still other names for June 6, 1944. Or this event may be significant for no other reason than the movie “Saving Private Ryan.”

Threescore and eight years have passed since 1944, so I’m not insulting today’s younger generation for knowing of D-Day only through a Tom Hanks movie. Sufficient unto this generation’s day is the evil thereof. Our young people have their own history with Viet Nam, the Middle East, the drug trade, and human trafficking -- as well as demonization of victims in the courts. Consider Annie Jacoby’s recent article, “Is There Such a Thing as a ‘Credible’ Rape Victim?” and decide whether the young people might have their hands full with today’s battles. When former New York police officers stand trial for sexually assaulting a young woman, and the bench rodent allows their defense team to have their way with the woman in the courtroom, this should speak volumes against the torn fabric of our society.

The ice is getting pretty thin, so I’d better return to my topic.

D-Day was launched, not to save an individual’s life, but to stop the relentless advance toward world tyranny by a crazed maniac and a nation under his spell. A rallying cry of Adolph Hitler was “Today Germany, tomorrow the world!” The masses assembled in Germany answered with “Sieg Heil” and the Allies answered “Heil, NO!”

Nearly 5,000 US troops were killed in the invasion that day. But in 1944 the United States had the courage to do whatever was necessary to beat back tyranny and preserve freedom for the next generation. That was then, and I’ll leave it to others toe debate whether America still has that kind of courage today.

Two principles I associate with D-Day are perseverance and personal responsibility. When the first landing craft reached the beach and dropped their ramps for the troops to exit, the men on board were exposed to Nazi machine gun fire and had no place to seek shelter. This picture shows the view presented to the troops when they landed.

Of the few Allied troops who succeeded in reaching the beach, most were killed as they dropped equipment and protection for the next wave in the assault force. Yet with each landing, by the end of the day 155,000 Allied troops controlled 80 square miles of the French coast. It was a small territory to hold, but capturing it was a key factor that led to the German surrender less than a year later.

If the invasion had occurred today, media coverage would likely have ignored the Allied advances and presented endless footage of dead and dying soldiers in the first assault wave. Reporters on the scene would have whined and wailed to the news anchors, who would have “objectively” demanded that President Roosevelt and General Eisenhower call off the campaign. I’d expect Congressional politicians of today to rail against the deaths of 5,000 American soldiers, advocating that the US would be better off speaking German -- purely for the good of the children, don’t you know! Fortunately for us “children,” the scene was allowed to play through. Persistence and perseverance won our over faint-heartedness back home.

As Supreme Commander of the Allied forces, General Eisenhower went against reason and logic when he directed the campaign. Even such brilliant minds as Winston Churchill had counseled against the assault, especially as he saw indications that the Nazi machine was disintegrating. But when he stood with Eisenhower, very few could read any misgivings in Churchill’s voice or his body language.

But even with the support of others, it all came down to the responsibility that General Eisenhower was willing to take for the decisions he made. And one reason he was elected President in 1952 is that he did shoulder that responsibility. He wrote this letter before the invasion, post-dating it to July 5.

"In case of failure" message drafted by General Eisenhower before the D-Day Invasion

Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Pre-Presidential Papers
Principal File: Butcher Diary 1942-1945
ARC Identifier: 186470

The last two sentences are

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.

You may notice where Eisenhower changed the wording in the first sentence, from passive to active voice. It’s subtle, but a key evidentiary tool in use by law enforcement and statement analysts today. He changed the words from “. . . the troops have been withdrawn” to “. . . I have withdrawn the troops.” If Eisenhower had been captured, he was carrying his own signed confession with him. Germany would have been within their rights to execute him as a war criminal, and the US media would have crucified him as a “baby killer.”

Could we ever again expect someone in politics today to take this type of risk or show the personal sense of integrity demonstrated by Eisenhower? Words that characterize our rulers today (and I use the word “rulers” intentionally) tend to be “cowardice” and “corruption.” In terms of personal responsibilty, “evasion” is far more applicable than “acceptance.”

These are the principles that spill over into the court system, where a victim of violent crime (or the family of the deceased victim) faces incredible resistance in seeking justice. Examples of injustice abound, and we become further aggravated when the Supreme Court orders California to release thousands of convicted felons -- because the conditions in their incarceration facilities are “cruel and unusual.”

The news is bleak, and the outlook seems hopeless. But in reality there is hope. As exposure continues to widen, the cockroaches have fewer dark places to hide. As increasing numbers of Americans become aware of the assault on their own freedom and the gentle treatment of the assailants, we may yet see some D-Days in the planning stages.

Grace and Peace,



  1. We need to start holding the "bench rodents" accountable for their actions!!! We need to put some "heat" underneath their behinds and make it a little uncomfortable for them or better yet, send them to the unemployment line!!!
    Excellent article Charles!!!

    Amethyst Dowdell

  2. Thanks Ame,

    Judicial misbehavior always grieves me, for it comes at the expense of their oath to defend the Constitution and of the people they abuse.

    I sincerely believe the US court system can work; many judges serve honorably in their positions, upholding the principles of our nation's Founders. Can we give our support to these judges, as we call upon judicial review commissions to investigate judges who misbehave?


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