On D-Day and beyond

This week we remember and honor the soldiers who fought in Normandy, landing in what will forever be known as D-Day, June 6, 1944. It’s been called the Longest Day, and certainly if you were on the beach, had a relative or friend there, or were responsible for someone who was, it was all that and more.

D Day was a great victory, establishing an Allied presence in northern France. Today as we look back, it may seem as if it were a preordained victory, but in fact it was anything but. Nor, it should be pointed out, did the successful landings and securing of the beachheads make ultimate victory a sure thing. The original assault plan, with the British leading a spearhead east, failed, and until the Cobra breakout weeks after the landings, the entire enterprise surely must have seemed in doubt. Even after the breakout, the original plan for kicking the Germans out of France was drastically revised – which while it led to Patton’s charge across the country that summer, made for some other difficulties along the way.

The point is, when we look back at historical moments, they often seem to be not only triumphant but obvious. Real life is never that way.

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