Search This Blog

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Obama Will Not Commemorate D-Day

Obama Will Not Commemorate D-Day

"In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate — look to his character." —Noah Webster.

Probably no one over the age of twenty does not know that June 6th marks the anniversary of the D-Day landings on the coast of France in 1944. Most of us have seen films like “The Longest Day” and “Saving Private Ryan” with the latter depicting the horrific conditions on Omaha Beach and the later giving may details of Operation Overload. Both films are classics when it comes to telling the story of both the airborne and seaborne landings.

On this day in 1944, Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight Eisenhower issued this charge:

"You are about to embark upon a great crusade. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you. You will bring about the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe. Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened, he will fight savagely. And let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking."

More than 160,000 troops landed on a 50-mile stretch of heavily fortified beaches along the Normandy coast of France in what was largest invasion force in history, involving more than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft. Some 9,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded than day. We owe these Patriots and generations of others an enormous debt of gratitude, and we owe them our steadfast devotion to Liberty over tyranny in our own day, so that the gift of Liberty may be extended to the next generation.

So what is Obama doing on this 68th anniversary — he is hitting the beaches – of sunny California!

Instead of scheduling a brief event to mark this 68th anniversary of America’s brutal landing on the shores of Normandy, Obama is already on his way to San Francisco, where he will hold two fundraisers before moving on to Beverly Hills to stage two more.

Obama failed to mark D-Day with either a speech or a written proclamation both last year or the year before. He did give a speech in 2009, the 65th anniversary of the event.

First Lady Michelle Obama, who has made much of her “Joining Forces” campaign to support military families, also has nothing planned for D-Day. She’ll be in New York City for a fundraiser and then in Philadelphia to meet with campaign volunteers.

Obama’s failure to mark D-Day in any significant way is both a shame and a political mistake.

According to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, two critical swing states – Florida and Pennsylvania, are among the top five states in terms of veterans’ population. Within the top twelve are four others — Michigan, Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina — all states Obama desperately needs to carry.

But what does Obama know about how the American people think and what they revere? The latest recall election in Wisconsin demonstrates this very well. All he gave his union supporters there was a tweet. Why should we expect anything else from our campaigner and fund raiser in chief.

I realize D-Day is slowly growing into a historical memory like the Battles of Saratoga and Yorktown and like the winter at Valley Forge and the Battle of Gettysburg. But to Obama, the great intellectual, these historical events have little or no meaning. To him it’s all about the money and his silly campaign speeches.

There are numerous historical reenactments of the battles of the Revolutionary and Civil War at the various battle sites. But it’s pretty hard to reenact the Normand landings when they took place on the coast of France. However, one president did honor those men as eloquently as Lincoln did after the Battle of Gettysburg — his name was Ronald Reagan. Who can forget his moving account of the “Boys of Pointe du Hoc” on the 40th anniversary of D-Day.

We see news reports of the war in Afghanistan on a daily basis. We see the most well-equipped, modern military in the world. We know of battlefield medicine that can save 99% of the wounded if they survive the first 24 hours after being wounded. This was not the case in 1944.

Many of the soldiers landing on the beaches of Normandy were young men who were drafted for the duration. They were equipped with the best available arms and equipment of the times. They did not have body armor. They had eight-shot M-1 Garand rifles and just enough training to know how to shoot and care for the weapon. In many cases the only shots they had ever fired were during target practice. They had never killed anyone.

These young men were tasked to exit a wooden Higgins Boat in chest-deep water under fierce and accurate fire from experience German troops, advance to the beach, climb the slopes overlooking the beach and secure a beachhead for the landings. They were not facing Islamic rebels branding AK-47s and yelling Allah is Great. They were facing some of the best troops the Rommel could put on Hitler’s Atlantic Wall. There were also concrete bunkers almost impervious to naval bombardment and aerial bombing. Bunkers that had to be taken by direct infantry assault. And what did these troops do? They succeeded. Hitler’s Atlantic Wall lasted less than 24 hours. As the late historian Stephen Ambrose quipped; “It was the Boy Scouts against the Hitler Youth and the Scouts carried the day through their infinitive.”

None of us can ever understand the fear these soldiers had when they exited the landing crafts or jumped from a C-47 in the dark of the Norman night. Fear many did not talk about even to the day they died. How many of these soldiers (and Marines from the more violent Pacific Theater) suffered from Posttraumatic stress disorder? We will never know as PTSD was not even in the medical encyclopedias of the day. The most common term used was “Shell Shock” and the psychological community did not know how to handle it.

Many of us have or had grandparents, fathers, uncles, or other relatives who served in WWII and returned with PTSD. Sometimes this condition manifested itself in alcoholism and sometimes in abuse. I know from personal experience this to be the case as my uncle, a decorated veteran of D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge was unable to cope with civilian life upon his return from his service.

These veterans are called the “Greatest Generation.” I take some umbrage with this term coined by Tom Brokow. The men of all generations who fought for freedom area part of the greatest generation including the Revolutionary War, Civil War, Korea, Vietnam, and those sacrificing their family life in the mountains of Afghanistan.

Obama, like most liberals will use the veterans as a backdrop to their campaign speeches, but when it really matters they ignore these men and women who sacrificed so much.

So when Obama can find the time to jet off to California to raise money without even a mention of the sacrifice the D-Day veterans did it is nothing but shameless.

1 comment:

  1. This just shows how much the United States has changed. Whilst in the past events from the 18th century were honoured and cherished, today there is little that unites or ties Americans, divided as they are by background. As someone who would choose Obama over Romney, I find this decision to ignore the D-Day anniversary deplorable and with incredulity. But then, the first thing President Obama did upon entering the Oval Office was to summon the British ambassador to take back the bust of Churchill.