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Reflecting on D-Day

Of all the days to remember . . . Labor Day, Memorial Day, President’s Day, 9.11, December 7 . . . the one that always causes me pause is D-Day.

On this day, 80 years ago as I write, the largest armada in the history of the world set forth to cross the English Channel in pissing weather, to assault the beaches at Normandy and, from there, bring about the destruction of the Third Reich.

In the moments before launch, Allied Supreme Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower broadcasted this message . . .

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.

Besides my gratitude for how that day bent the course of future events, I’m reminded that however hard I think the thing in front of me is, D-Day was harder.

Those men, not so different from me and you, rose to that occasion.

I can too.