Five Star General, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander, issued to those under his command this statement during the evening of June 5, 1944, the night before troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, what we now refer to as D-Day.

“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 hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well-trained, and well-equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely. But this is the year 1944! The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to victory!

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory! Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.”

The invasion of Normandy included the largest amphibious assault in the history of warfare. Troops parachuted into a turbulent night to secure inland positions and establish bases they could protect. Others entered in stealthily, but dangerously, in glider planes known as flying coffins because they often splintered into pieces while attempting to land on hedgerow-hemmed fields filled with obstructions known as ‘Rommel’s asparagus.’

May we always be thankful for those who went to battle in order that we may live as we do.

Please God, always bless America!

Bill Smoak