In the pre-dawn hours, a huge Allied Expeditionary Force left the British coast and headed across the English Channel for France. Five areas at Normandy were their objective: Gold — Juno — Omaha — Sword — Utah Beaches.
This AEF invasion force consisted of 156,000 troops, 6,039 ships, and 11,590 aircraft to attack Hitler’s infamous “Atlantic Wall”, fortified along the entire French coast. Field Marshall Erwin Rommel (The North African “Desert Fox”) had been assigned the task of preparing this defensive bulwark, considered impregnable by the German high command.
General George Patton was stationed in England as the designated commander of the Allied invasion preparations and openly directed his planned attack point at the Pas de Colais in northern France. This highly visible and obvious activity totally convinced Hitler that the invasion would be in that northern coastal region.
We now know that Patton was the most — feared Allied commander by the German military officer corps. Supreme Commander Eisenhower accomplished two major objectives via this strategy: 1) It totally convinced the Germans that Patton would be in command of the invasion. 2) Pas de Colais region was to be the main invasion locale. It succeeded brilliantly.
This is not to infer that the Normandy invasion point was an easy task — anything but! It was tough, bloody, and costly, but ultimately successful! For nearly a month, it was anything but a “fait accompli.” It was however, the beginning of the end for the Third Reich and at long last, led to May 1945 and the end of World War II in Europe.
Now 73 years later, we must never forget nor fail to honor all those who gave so much for so many and saved the civilized world from “grand plaus” of the horrendous 1,000 year Third Reich.
The price paid at Omaha Beach alone is nobly and painfully evident as there are more than 9,4000 graves in that American military cemetery. At each of the landing zones on D-Day, similar sites are stark reminders of the wiling sacrifices and the ultimate price paid by the brave patriots.
We who write these words and you who read them must NEVER forget. If we do, then we forfeit our heritage and our freedom. Given the “clear and present danger” running at warp speed in this world today, it becomes our duty to ever be vigilant and be worthy of those who gave their all so that we can treasure the blessings that are ours. God Bless America.
Dean Gordin is a local resident and guest columnist.