A brief word on the 75th Anniversary of D-Day
Today we commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Allied Invasion of Normandy, commonly called D-Day. It was the largest seaborne invasion in history, and allowed the Allies to get a toehold in Nazi-occupied France. The success of that operation would be the catalyst for the eventual defeat of the Nazis, the liberation of the concentration camps, and the end of World War 2 in Europe.
The size and scope of the invasion was astounding. 156,000 allied troops landed on the beaches or parachuted just behind the Nazis fortifications. 195,700 naval personnel manned 6,939 vessels that were in the armada that transported the troops to the beaches or launched barrages on the fixed Nazi positions. And 11,590 aircraft flew 14,674 sorties of reconnaissance, bombing, and close air support.
We celebrate this day for the victory over the demonic evil that was Nazism and also to remember those who sacrificed everything for us.
The D-Day casualty figures were truly horrific. The US forces alone suffered 2,499 killed in action, 3,184 seriously wounded, and 1,928 missing in action.
The Invasion of Northern France was a colossal, historical undertaking combining the world’s greatest military minds; the industrial production of the US and the UK; the creativity and genius of military engineers, logisticians, spies, medics, and planners; and the coordination of all branches of service on land, sea, and air for 12 different Allied countries.
We celebrate the invasion’s success, and honor the high cost that was paid for that success. However, that success was very nearly a defeat. For, D-Day, like all battles, was filled with poor planning, misjudgments, human error, and well-intentioned mistakes.
The assault involved meticulous planning, state of the art technology, and nonstop aerial and naval bombardment on Nazi emplacements, all of which were fairly ineffective in destroying the German defensive positions. As a result, the beachheads, particularly Omaha Beach where the American forces landed, were a slaughterhouse.
And even though the meticulous planning seems to have failed and there was carnage and chaos everywhere, our troops did what they had to secure the beachhead.
An old Prussian field marshal once said, “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.” And that seemed to hold true on D-Day, but I am also reminded of today’s verse, Jeremiah 29:11:
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Surely, on D-Day, the Lord’s plan was in place, and thankfully His will was that our brave servicemen would be successful in their struggles, so that we might all enjoy a hope and a future.