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Posts tagged ‘Normandy’

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D-day – and what made victory possible

D-day – and what made victory possible

June 6, 1944.  It’s known as “D-day” in the history books.  The day when Allied troops did the impossible – stormed the beachheads of Normandy in France, and took the first bold step in driving Hitler backward, and ultimately to defeat.  It was an invasion that literally saved the free world.  

June 6 is not a holiday in America, and as such it often passes by unnoticed in the busyness of early summer.  But 71 years ago, the Allies, under the command of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, went for broke, and launched a mission with a very slim chance of success.  The cost in human life was staggering, as we know.  We’ve seen the movies about it.  We’ve heard the speeches.
There aren’t too many survivors of D-day left today, which is a shame.  Because just as fascinating as the events of June 6, are the events of the days that led up to arguably the most incredible military action in modern history.  The heroes who fell on or near the beaches of Normandy are heralded and honored, and rightfully so.  But the improbable success of D-day would not have been possible without cunning strategy, careful planning, and ingenious engineering.  
Rear Admiral Edward Ellsberg was there, and played an instrumental role in the days leading up to what we now know as D-day.  In his amazing book, The Far Shore, Ellsberg recalls in stark detail just what it took to equip the boys who would charge those beaches, and the creativity, courage, and manpower it took to achieve one of freedom’s greatest and costliest victories.
It’s been some time since I had the privilege of bringing the Admiral’s remarkable story to audio, but ever since I learned of what happened in the days before June 6, 1944, D-day has taken on a whole new meaning for me.  As you’ll hear, a million things could have gone wrong – and many of them did – and yet the courage, genius, and never-quit spirit of the people who were there preparing on the near shore were crucial to the Allies’ ultimate success on The Far Shore.