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The Longest Day

Today marks the 70th anniversary of Operation Neptune, the deadly beach landings at Normandy, part of the larger Normandy invasion that was Operation Overlord.

On this day, 2,499 American men lost their lives storming those beaches and parachuting into Normandy. Before Operation Overlord was concluded eighty-one days later, America had laid the lives of anotherĀ  18,339 of its sons upon the altar of freedom.

20,838 American lives lost, and countless more maimed and wounded, just in that one campaign. We’ve only lost 6,664 in thirteen years in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That’s over 257 American dead, each day, every day, of that terrible campaign. Our allies paid just as dear a price.

They liberated Europe for the citizens who couldn’t, then rebuilt it for those who wouldn’t, and fulfilled the promise of America only to turn it over to a generation who didn’t. And I wonder if America will ever see their like again.
God, I hope so. I fear we’ll need them again before my time on Earth is done.
Take time to remember today the sacrifices made by the generation of our fathers and grandfathers, and remember that freedom isn’t free. Sometimes it exacts a terrible price, but it’s one worth paying.
The children of the Greatest Generation understood that.
Do we?

 

Comments - Add Yours

  • Middleoftheright

    As you pointed out in the class in Indy, today we have better first aid medicine and techniques, so many of those 18K casualties might well have lived had we had today’s medical techniques then.

    • Ambulance_Driver

      True.

      And our collective will was much stronger then.

    • McThag

      A frightful number of men who were wounded lightly enough to be treated successfully by medicine of the time DROWNED on the beach because they were wounded enough that they couldn’t keep ahead of the tide.

  • E-6

    I ran across a 30 something today that had no idea what war D-Day was from. It broke my heart and I wanted to kick her @ss all at the same time. From the Greatest generation to the most clueless.

  • David

    From my Dad and many like him from that era:
    “We had a job to do and we went and did it.” Clarification, the recruits of that era who had either volunteered or were drafted were taught that the spread of the Axis evil was raging across Europe, and the Pacific, like a wildfire. The job was simple, the stopping of this spread. Unfortunately, it wasn’t simple (not like that) it was costly.
    Thanks Dad, LT. USN: Served in Europe from D-Day to V-E day.

    Today, I wonder if we could do this. Too many things have conspired to bring this country down. Our education system is failing (see first comment) and people just plain don’t care anymore. I too hope for changes in my lifetime.

    Thanks AD

    David

  • richtermedic

    As we reach deep down inside to muster up the biggest thanks we can to that generation, let’s also not forget that the care we provide today to our patients is possible because of their sacrifice. The advancements in medicine have happened due largely in part to what we have unfortunately learned in combat.