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D-Day: 70 years later

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By Doug Powers  •  June 6, 2014 09:52 AM

**Written by Doug Powers

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Seventy years ago today, General Eisenhower spelled out what was at stake in advance of the largest amphibious assault in history:

SUPREME HEADQUARTERS
ALLIED EXPEDITIONARY FORCE

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

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.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

Good Luck! and Let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

By the end of the campaign, the casualties were heavy:

D-Day casualties: (killed, wounded and missing): In two and a half months of Normandy campaign (June 6-Aug. 21) Germans lose 450,000 soldiers, Allies 210,000. Canadian casualties total more than 18,000, including more than 5,000 dead.

Less than a year after the Normandy landings, Germany would surrender.

Forty years later, June 6, 1984, Ronald Reagan spoke at Pointe du Hoc:

It’s unfortunate that there’s really no way to know exactly how many D-Day veterans are still with us:

It is unknown how many D-Day warriors are still living because a large fire four decades ago at a storage facility destroyed millions of Army records listing their service.

But we know many D-Day veterans are still alive, and some of them received a fantastic salute at Detroit Metro Airport this week.

From Top Right News:

A group of World War II veterans got a sweet surprise on Wednesday, when a gate agent at the Detroit airport serenaded them with a beautiful rendition of the national anthem over the loudspeaker.

The moving moment came on Monday, when the agent at DTW, Anna Marie Barile, started to sing over the PA system for passengers waiting for Delta flight 98 from Detroit to Paris.

There were 12 WWII veterans on this particular flight, which was headed to Omaha Beach to recognize the 70th anniversary of D-Day. When it was announced over the PA system that they were WWII veterans, they received a standing ovation from all the travelers.

The tribute came about at the urging of Barile’s fellow employees, who encouraged her to sing since many of them had heard her voice before.

Video here. I have a feeling that ticket agent at DTW might be singing the National Anthem at a Tigers game before too long.

Salute to those who “saved the world” on this 70th anniversary of D-Day. Let us never forget their sacrifice.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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