"This day, this D-Day, started the beginning of the end for the Nazi regime. This is the day the boys in the boats, the Americans, along with her allies, saved the world from tyranny."
This morning, I awoke at 4 am to watch the live proceedings in France. The 75th anniversary of the landing of the Allies at Normandy. The event which changed the world, and saved the world. One of the reporters this morning, after she has been immersed in the history of the moment, had a very interesting question. "The boys who participated in this landing were so very young. Many knew they were going to die that day. Many had never been outside the state they were born in, much less outside the country. Do our young people today have what it takes to do this? If this event happened today/"
Today, there are 1.4 million people serving in the armed forces. And not all are combat - a large percentage are support personnel. Even though 1.4 million sounds like a large number, it really is a very small percentage of our population - about .4%. If war came, the size of World War II, the number of people serving would have to balloon much higher than 1.4 million - and fast. 16 million Americans served in World War II - back then, that was about 11% of our population.
Here is the question. Do our young people today, who are not currently serving in the armed forces, have the mettle to answer the call? Like the farm boys did in the 1940's? Go into a foreign land, and fight people they do not know? Maybe some they have never even heard of? Laying aside their iPhone, iPad, Google and Facebook to pick up rifles and back packs to go fight somewhere.
The boys who won the day for us 75 years ago were just that - boys. Getting to Europe was not luxury travel back then. They were packed into transport ships with zero creature comforts. When they got to England, they lived in tent cities. Every day, there was training - training for the fight everyone knew was inevitable. They trained many times without live ammo - that needed to be saved for the invasion.
When D-Day happened, on that bleak morning with rough seas, the boys sitting in the landing crafts knew what was about to happen. It would be the closest thing to hell on Earth one could imagine. Many of the young men became sick in the landing craft. In some boats, there was the stench of vomit everywhere. When the water was shallow enough, the front door of the landing craft swung open. For many of these very young men, that was this last thing they ever saw.
As much as I thought I knew about D-Day, today I learned even more. The history surrounding this day is rich and deep. I would love to have our schools once again teach real American history. Teach about what our youth were like during that time. Teach about the truth of D-Day - why that day was so very important. Teach about how this was one of America's finest moments in world history. No apology tour needed about this event.
This day, this D-Day, started the beginning of the end for the Nazi regime. This is the day the boys in the boats, the Americans, along with her allies, saved the world from tyranny.
Young people of today - pay attention. It could happen again.