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Why D-Day Still Matters

 

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Tomorrow, June 6, 2014 marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

Why does this matter? I mean it was just another war. Right?

I don’t think so. D Day is a special day in history.

No one likes war.

And our Founding Fathers wished and hoped America would stay out of the never ending battles of Europe.

 

However, the Founding Fathers (with the possible exception of Benjamin Franklin) never imagined faster ways of travel such as steam ships and airplanes, thus ‘shrinking’ the world.

They also never imagined a despot quite like Adolph Hitler; or even Lenin or Stalin.

Imagine if you can that Hitler, or even Russia’s Lenin or Stalin had prevailed in WW II.

To say that it would be a far different world today is an understatement!

The men and women who fought in WW II disliked war as much as anyone else. Probably more.

Hate war if you must; but thank those who fought that day because the world would be a very different one today if the Axis coalition had prevailed in WW II.

Who knows? If the U S of A  had not joined in WW II America might be the largest colony in the Russian Empire today!

Responsibility

D Day is still a clarion call for all of us to remember that freedom is not free and that we all have a responsibility to help keep freedom alive and well. Sadly there are always tyrants and bullies in the world.

A Massive Undertaking

6493900_f496D Day required a massive amount of planning and competence in executing the plan.

D Day took 288 days to plan.

D Day was the largest and greatest seaborne invasion of any county in history.

D Day was not just an invasion by sea. The invasion that routed the Nazis was three pronged: by land, air, and sea.

All five armed services of the United States of America participated in the D Day invasion: Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and the Air Force.

D Day invaded France on 5 separate beaches along 60 miles of beach.

5000 vessels were transported in ships over the English Channel.

Over 4000 boats crossed the English Channel on D Day.

Over 150,000 men mostly British, American and or Canadian invaded France.

Over 30,000 vehicles were involved.

Over 300 planes were transported on ships across the Channel to France

1300 RAF planes flew across the channel and dropped bombs that day.

At the end of the day 9000 Allied soldiers were dead

100,000 soldiers made it ashore.

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The Nazis were confronted and simply over whelmed by the sheer numbers of Allied soldiers. They just kept coming in wave after wave after wave. But the beaches were taken and the beginning of the end of The Third Reich had begun.

30,000 Nazis were captured that first day of the invasion.

The soldiers who lived that day went about liberating Europe from the world’s worst despot ever, Adolph Hitler.

And after the war America went about rebuilding a devastatingly war torn Europe.

Two Things Changed My Outlook on War

To paraphrase Winston Churchill:

If you aren’t a liberal in your youth you have no heart. If you aren’t a conservative in your old age you haven’t learned anything.

 

Every D Day I am reminded of two experiences I have had that have changed my view of war.

1. A Visit To Normandy

thCAHW0T09The first experience was in the 1990’s. I was privileged to visit France and Normandy. In Normandy almost every person I met brought up D Day without being prompted.

And the first thing out of their mouth was, “Thank you for liberating us. Thank you for D Day.” These words were unsolicited. If they knew you were American they automatically loved you. Even forty years later they could not say, ‘Thank You,’ often enough.

And it was not just the D Day survivors, but their children as well. The gratitude in their hearts is real and palpable.

In honor of America’s participation in D Day Normandy flies the American flag at the same height as the French and Norman flags – a high honor indeed.

Anyone who says the French hate Americans has never been to Normandy.

These people know what it is like to be invaded and have dictatorship thrust upon them. They value freedom and those who helped them regain it.

2. Meeting a Holocaust Survivor

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The second experience was about ten years after my trip to France. I was working in the marketing division of a car dealership. I was a liaison to schools and educators to help sell cars.

One day a principal called me with a request. Their seventh and eighth grade classes had been studying WW II and the Holocaust. As a culminating activity the teachers wanted to have a survivor of the Holocaust speak to the children. They could not find one. So they asked me with my varied contacts if I could help them.

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I told them I could not guarantee it but that I had one contact that may be able to help. Long story short, I was able to find a survivor who was willing to speak.

Since he was very old I had to pick him up at his home and drive him back. It was not an imposition. It was an honor.

On the drive to and from his home he told me several horrific stories of what the Nazis did to people and children that I have tried to block from my memory ever since.

While he was forthright with the children, he did not tell them the worst of it.

However, one of the stories he did share with the children that day was this one.

It was in the spring of 1945, a year or so after D Day when Adam was liberated from a small concentration camp whose name I forget now. The detainees had heard for a few weeks that the Americans were near by and it was just a few days before they would be liberated. It gave them hope to hang on just one more day. It was Adam’s goal to stay alive till the Americans arrived.

One day the Nazis ordered him to fill a pit of the dead with stones and dirt. He was shoveling but was too slow for the Nazis. They shot him. He fell into the pit of already dead and decomposing bodies and he thought this was his last day on earth.

He has no recollection of how long he lay there on top of the dead and rotting.

thCA3HM3POThe next thing he remembered was a loud noise that kept getting louder and louder. It hurt his ears. He thought that heaven was certainly a noisy place. Then he thought well maybe he had not made it to heaven after all and that this was hell and that he would have to put up with this loud noise forever.

Although he was weak he managed to lift himself up to try and find where the noise was coming from. The first thing he saw was what looked like a long stick moving into the camp. Soon he realized the ‘stick’ was a barrel of the gun on a tank.

Just then the tank came into full view and he said he knew it was an American tank and that his prayers had been answered. He had not died, and he would soon be free. But the noise kept getting louder and louder as tank after tank after liberating tank came into the camp.

The American soldiers had water and food, the medics soon arrived and he knew he was still alive and would live and survive the madness of the Holocaust.

So don’t tell me that war is always bad.

Don’t tell the Jews who were liberated in 1945 that war is evil.

I especially do not want to hear today’s revisionists and the moral relativists among us that Hitler did some good things and all things are relative.

There is evil in the world.
And there simply are some things worth fighting for.
So today I salute all who liberated Europe, all who died trying, and all who serve today still keeping us free.

 Black Sc roll

Featured Recipe        Iced Tea Ade

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It has gotten hot here. Not miserable hot and humid like the dog days in August summer, but warm enough to desire a tall cool glass of iced tea when I get home from work.

The ice tea I share with you today is slightly different in taste that the usual run of the mill iced tea.  It uses something you would not think to add to iced tea.

I call it My Secret Ingredient Iced Tea.

The note in my home made recipe book just says from “Reader’s Digest.”

I hope it becomes a favorite of yours like it is for me.

This is what you will need for 8 glasses of tea:

8 orange pekoe tea bags

8 cups simmering water

1 can (12 ounces) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

Lemon slices for garnish

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Here is what you do:

Defrost the lemonade completely.

Bring the water to a simmer.

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When that is done, remove the water from the heat source and combine the tea bags and water in a large heat-proof pitcher or bowl with a spout and let stand 12 minutes.

NOTE: I do not have either a heat proof pitcher or bowl with a spout. So I brew the tea in a large cast iron pot and then I use a ladle to transfer the cooled down brew into a large pitcher for company or just into tall glasses for just me and friends.

Off the heat I add the tea bags to brew.

Off the heat add the tea bags to the hot water.

When the 12 minutes is up discard the tea bags and stir in the thawed lemonade. Do not squeeze the tea bags. It will cause your tea to be bitter. Just lift them out of the water and throw away.

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Transfer to the fridge and chill for 1½ hours.

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A few minutes before  you remove the lemonade from the fridge slice the lemon.

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Remove the tea from the fridge and pour into the glasses over ice to serve. Add lemon slices if using.

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Quenching your thirst was never more delicious or cheap!

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Bon appétit!!!
Cost

8 orange pekoe tea bags                   $0.40

8 cups simmering water                    ——-

1 can frozen lemonade                      $1.25

Lemon wedges for garnish                $0.69

Total cost = $2.34
Cost per glass = $0.29

Quotes of the Day

My parents came to this country after World War II, Jews from Czechoslovakia who had survived Auschwitz and Dachau. They settled with my sister in rural Ohio in the 1950s, where my dad became the town doctor and I was born.

Julie Salamon

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If you ask the people in Europe who won World War II, they don’t say the Allies; they say the United States won the war and saved the world.

Bob Feller

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I was a little girl in World War II and I’m used to being freed by Americans.

Madeleine Albright

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We learned in World War II that no single nation holds a monopoly on wisdom, morality or right to power, but that we must fight for the weak and promote democracy.

Joe Baca

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I was going to be a great woman novelist. Then the war came along and I think it’s hard for young people today, don’t you, to realize that when World War II happened we were dying to go and help our country.

Julia Child

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6 comments to Why D-Day Still Matters

  • Wow. Pretty pretty tea! I’m a tea-aholic.
    My father was too young for D-Day, or WWII, but his older brother fought, his older brother-in-law fought, and many family friends landed on the beaches at Normandy. Brave brave men.

  • This is beautifully written and no American reading it can do so without being touched to the core.

    I love iced tea. I wish we had frozen concentrate here but alas, another one of the American convenience items we don’t have. 🙂

    • Roberta

      Thank you, Maureen. In some ways it was hard to write.

      Wish I could get you some lemonade concentrate. 🙂

  • Very well written Roberta. I had not seen the original Winston Churchill quotation, I will look for it.

    Both my parents served in WW2, my father was still in North Africa on D Day and then landed in Italy. They both hated war but recognised that they had to do their duty to ensure a future for the generations still to come. As an ex serviceman I hated war too but recognised that we had to stand up to the forces of evil.

    Sadly, we won the shooting war convincingly but were betrayed by our allies politically.

    As it did in Rhodesia and South Africa, Russia is once again financing and supporting terrorist activity, this time in Ukraine. Let’s hope that this conflict does not drag us into another major war.

    • Roberta

      These are certainly difficult times, Peter, made worse by a weak, to say the least, leader of the Free World.