Today in History, June 6, 1944:
The skies overhead filled with aircraft…thousands of bombers, transports, fighters. The British populace watched the boys board transport ships bound for France…and wept. Their towns, so long filled with those damned Americans were now quiet and empty. They wouldn’t be coming back. Many would fill cemeteries across Europe; others would be headed home for the US after fighting their way to Germany.
In America, as the news was broadcast that the invasion had begun at long last, businesses, theaters, and other workplaces emptied and closed…and the churches filled to capacity.
Americans prayed for their sons, husbands and fathers. I’m sure they prayed not to see the Western Union courier on their street in the coming days.
The Allies had been planning, working for and arguing over this day since America had entered the war. Americans had wanted to make the assault on Europe as early as 1942. Stalin in Russia had been pushing for another front to be opened to relieve pressure on his country which had suffered incredible losses.
The British General Staff and Churchill had won the argument, which saw to fighting in Africa, Sicily and Italy first.
By 1944, as America provided more and more supplies…and troops…to the war, the invasion of France was planned.
The largest, most complex invasion in history began on June 6, 1944 with Americans, British, Canadians and troops from the occupied nations of Europe.
The world was saved by boys who should have lived long, happy lives.
We owe a debt we cannot possibly repay.
On that day, my father would be recognizing his 17th birthday. I don’t know when he shipped out, but that is the year he began his service in the Pacific.