Not many days are so critical that the future strongly depends on their outcome. Tomorrow in 1944 was one of those days. To honor it, it has been declared The Lonest Day. That might be an exaggeration, but not by much. On that day we landed in force on Omaha Beach in France. After many hours of bloody battle we only had advanced a few yards up the beach. Failure was likely.
Only an optimist would have called that landing even a modest success. And then a miracle happened. We rallied. "Ted" Roosevelt Jr. played a major role in that reversal. Against the advice of other senior officers, who feared his capture, Roosevelt went ashore with the first wave of troops. That’s an exceptional commitment to duty given his advanced rank and age. When informed that the landing was on the wrong beach, Roosevelt simply said that “we’re starting the war from right here”. A very decisive conclusion.
All the troops on that beach on that day were heros. I salute them all.
I will always remember several famous and insightful sayings that day. Roosevelt is sometimes credited with approximately saying “Two kinds of people are staying on this beach—the dead and those who are going to die.”
That moving and accurate observation was actually made by Col. George A. Taylor, commanding the Sixteenth Infantry Regiment, First Infantry Division, on Omaha Beach. In the movie that recalled the day, this observation was delivered by Robert Mitchum as Brig. Gen. Norman D. Cota.
Another famous saying from that eventful day was made by General James Gavin: “When you get to Normandy you’ll only have one friend-God”. It’s always goodness to have God on your side, but also a lot of luck also works wonders.
All this is great stuff that sometimes inaccurately documents one of our outstanding moments in history. History can be confusing. History hell, I don’t even accurately remember what I did yesterday.
Have a happy holiday.