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My Dad was boots on the ground at Omaha Beach, Dog Red, 64 years ago today. I have heard his stories many times and even had the privilege of visiting the beach with him in 71. At the America Cemetery he shed a tear, very rare for him.
Since I was a little child, every June 6, I would ask him "where were you today in 1944". Can't do that anymore, he died several years ago. The memories haven't.
I am sitting here looking at a picture of him taken somewhere in Normandy. So I salute you First Sargeant Cooper along the the rest of the veterans of that day and that war.
Thank you for your service to our country, thank you for our freedom!

*****************************************************

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

You are about to embark upon 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 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 war on the ground. Our Home
Fronts have given us an 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 and devotion to duty and skill in
battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

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


SIGNED: Dwight D. Eisenhower
 

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Thanks for the post. My Dad was a cartographer and hand drew updates on many of the maps used by the 101st etc. and those that made the landing and fought inland. He would never talk about his experiences and sometimes would isolate around this time. My Mom told me that he suffered from nightmares when he came back home which never really went away and that once he talked about being involved in helping in picking up "parts" after the fighting had diminished enough to do so. How these men managed to come home to work raise families and live normal lives is beyond me. My Dad passed in '78 but his legacy as well as all those who served lives on today. Thanks for the reminder we are free to ride because of their sacrifices.
 

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Thank you Allied Forces for liberating Europe, beginning with France!!!
Because I was born 10 years after the war ended I grew up hearing about the German occupation and the humiliation when their troops marched on the Champs Elysees. To this day my mother still hates the "boches" (demeaning term for Germans) and "ritals" (demeaning term for Italians, allied to the Germans).
June 6 is known as the "longest day".
 

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Great post, Norris; they were a different breed back then. My great uncle served, as a waist gunner on a Flying Fortress. He never talked much about the war. He's 93 now, and just the other day while having desert at a family gathering he just mentioned in passing (as calmly and nonchalantly as if saying, "the mail is here") that he was on the very last Flying Fortress to drop bombs on Germany!

Before that, I never really knew what he did; everyone in the family just new Uncle Gerald was "overseas" in the big war. To him, and his buddies, they were just doing what was expected of a man. He did mention a few horrible things he saw out the opening on the side of his plane, with what happened to some of the bombers that got hit and went down with his buddies inside them. To this day, he still remembers his friends that didn't come home.

After hearing his story about being in the last plane to drop bombs, I asked him how he got there. They had a new bombadier on their plane, and they always put them at the back of the bombing run (they always put the most experienced and best bombadiers up front, in the first three planes). The newbies didn't rely on the Norton (I think that's waht they were called) bomb sight - they just released their bombs when they saw the plane in front drop theirs; everyone following the lead of the guys in front with good aim.

My uncle is cruising along at the back of the pack, and didn't even have to fire his gun. By this time the Luftwaffe was just about non-existant, but they still got flak.

They make their bombing run, and turn around for England, when a message came over the radio that the war was over. That made for a real happy landing, I guess.
 

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+1 Thank you to all that have served and are serving now.

My father spent the war in Panama. He had enlisted a year before the war started and ended up staying there that whole time.
 

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norriscooper said:
My Dad was boots on the ground at Omaha Beach, Dog Red, 64 years ago today. I have heard his stories many times and even had the privilege of visiting the beach with him in 71. At the America Cemetery he shed a tear, very rare for him.
My reverent salute to your father and all who served in the Big One.
 

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Same thanks here, and thank you for the reminder. Memories and history that needs to stay alive and passed along
 

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My wife and I got home abut 11pm last night from a three week visit to France. I may post something about that when I've recovered from the 9 hour jet lag and 19 hours on airplanes and at airports.

We did spend some time in Normandy and visited a number of the memorials and cemeteries: Juno Beach, site of the Canadian landing, the U.S. memorial and cemetary above Omaha Beach, the Canadian Cemetary near Dieppe, and at or near Iepres (Ypres) in Belgium the John McCrae Cemetary near where he wrote "In Flanders Fields" while serving as a military surgeon, the Commonwealth Cemetary in Tyne-Cot, the Vimy Memorial and the 'The Brooding Soldier' at St. Julian, the site of the first German gas attack. At the Menin Gate in Iepres every night at 8pm the Last Post is played and a wreath placed, all organized by the citizens of Iepres.
It was all very moving and a little overwhelming.

I will not forget.
 

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And my thanks to your dad, also Norris. Your dad was different--a real man. Not like the wining little bitches we have running around today. If we had it to do over again, I really doubt we could.
 

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Thanks for the reminder...and to those who have and are serving my deep thanks and gratitude. I believe the generations that have served like your father and my father during Vietnam and those serving today are some of the best of the best.
I also thank you for reminding me that all is not wrong with our country...there are still great men and women amongst us...though everyday we loose more and more of them. In their eyes they do not consider themselves heroic, but they will be and should be considered as such by a grateful nation.
 
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