Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Operation Overlord

At 6:30 a.m., American troops came ashore at Utah and
Omaha beaches. At Omaha, the U.S. First Division battled high seas,
mist, mines, burning vehicles-and German coastal batteries, including
an elite infantry division, which spewed heavy fire. Many wounded
Americans ultimately drowned in the high tide. British divisions,
which landed at Gold, and Sword beaches, and Canadian troops, landing
at Juno beach, also met with heavy German fire, but by the end of the
day they were able to push inland.

And how. I don't know if any of you have been shot at, but it is an errie sound. That quick hissing whizz as that round zings by, but that was just one bullet. One isolated shot that still is a crisp in my ears today as back then. And I have been on the other end too. Never shot a machine gun at a person, but I have burned thousands of rounds on a M60. Thousands. Thats why I can't hear a damn thing these days. But that was fun. What these guys were met with is beyond fear. These guys knew their ticket was punched. Who thought they would live to tell the tale. Boat loads of guys who never got off the boat. Laying in the sand, paralyzed from machine gun fire watching the tide ebb closer, counting the last hours of you life before the water drowns you.

Still the casualty count on D-Day isn't as bad as you think.
The United States and Britain each lost about 1,000
men, and Canada 355. Before the day was over, 155,000 Allied troops
would be in Normandy. However, the United States managed to get only
half of the 14,000 vehicles and a quarter of the 14,500 tons of
supplies they intended on shore.
The operation was a success, but some didn't view it that way. Either way, the invasion at Normandy will go down as one of the greatest examples of valor in the annals of sacrifice. It's right there with the Spartans stand at Thermopylea. Or the RAFs Battle over Briton. But lets not get lost in the events. While D-Day was the event, it was people like Pvt. George Peters who made D-Day a success. A when a person is determined, nothing can stop them. I read that in the code of the samuri, it is said that even if the head is removed from the body, the samuri must still possess the strength to cause a final blow to his enemy, so to know victory in death. The samuri must have unflappable determination. Peters did.
Pvt. Peters stood up without orders and began a l-man charge against the hostile emplacement armed only with a rifle and grenades. His single-handed assault immediately drew the enemy fire away from his comrades. He had run halfway to his objective, pitting rifle fire against that of the machinegun, when he was struck and knocked to the ground by a burst. Heroically, he regained his feet and struggled onward. Once more he was torn by bullets, and this time he was unable to rise. With gallant devotion to his self-imposed mission, he crawled directly into the fire that had mortally wounded him until close enough to hurl grenades which knocked out the machinegun, killed 2 of its operators, and drove protecting riflemen from their positions into the safety of a woods.

How did Lincoln put it? "Dear Madam: I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom. Yours very sincerely and respectfully, Abraham Lincoln."

Rest in peace boys, you deserve it.

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