The eyes of the world were upon us on “the longest day”

Yesterday, I had to fly to New York City to do a taping for Fox News. And God’s divine providence shined down on West Palm Beach airport, as at that same time, there was a group of men preparing to depart on their own flight — an Honor Flight.

Assembled at the airport was that special breed of men from our Greatest Generation now in their upper 80’s and 90’s who 70 years ago embarked upon the greatest military invasion in history: Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy. It was amazing to gaze into their eyes — there was still that vigor and spirit — and the strong handshakes! These were men who were part of that vast number — 160,000 strong — who would hit the drop zones and beach landing zones to begin the liberation of Europe from the Nazi stranglehold.

Here is General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s message to the troops. You cannot help but be inspired and awed by his words and the task our troops faced.

We must never forget the names Bold, Sword, Juno, Omaha, Utah, and Point du Hoc where the Allies and men of the American Army’s 1st, 4th, and 29th Infantry Divisions hit the beach — and the 2nd Rangers scaled the heights. And the evening prior, in order to set the conditions for a successful beach landing operation, the Paratroopers of the American 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, along with the British 6th Para secured key bridges and terrain cutting off German reinforcements. Never forget St. Mere-Eglise and Carentan, or the Orne River Bridge.

The stories of heroism will echo for eternity and they must be told to ensure those brave 9,000 — who would never again walk among the living — are not forgotten.

We should feel ashamed if we allow the children and grandchildren of Normandy to celebrate this day more so than our own. We must never allow the legacy of Operation Overlord to be forgotten. Those men I met yesterday morning at West Palm Beach airport will never forget that longest of days — we can take the time to honor them, and make sure we thank them for the liberty and freedoms we enjoy every day.

And so here are the mottos of the American units of that famed day:

1st Infantry Division: “No Mission Too Difficult, No Sacrifice Too Great – Duty First”
4th Infantry Division: “Steadfast and Loyal”

82nd Airborne Division: “All-American”
101st Airborne Division: “Screaming Eagles, Rendezvous with Destiny”
2nd Rangers: “Rangers Lead the Way”

My father served in North Africa and Italy, and perhaps if he had not been wounded he would have made it to Normandy. As I looked upon those men yesterday — I looked into my own dad’s eyes.

God bless those men who sacrificed on “the longest day.”

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41 Comments on "The eyes of the world were upon us on “the longest day”"

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Brendan
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Well said.

Barb
Guest

Good man, great men.

gwdisqus
Guest

Heroes.

Len Reeve
Guest

… amen, COL West… amen.

Richard Anderson
Guest

to all who fought and died on this day, God bless you…

Robert Hamby
Guest

Truly a debt we can never repay !!!
(Funny thing is… That generation never asked to be repaid)

Dan Caldwell
Guest
It just shows what can be done when a generation works together towards a common goal. I received this from my Aunt just this am. ” I was searching my memory as to where we were on “D Day” and I came up with this so correct me if I’m wrong. Your Dad was back from North Africa in the States, married and I think living in Maryland. Howard was in Tenn. and Raymond was on a Hospital Ship but I’m unsure if he was on the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean. Daddy was a Guard at Safe Harbor; Mom was… Read more »
MotherBatherick
Guest

Now THAT was sharing!! Thanks for the smiles, thank you for being a Patriot!

SupportOldGlory
Guest
You just said something that made me realize why as I grow older, honoring these men means so much more to me, and I grew up in a very military home. “As I looked upon those men of yesterday — I looked into my own dad’s eyes.” I no longer have my father, he passed a day short of his 90th birthday, but in these men I see the pride, the love of God, family and country that shone in my father’s eyes. I knew the Pledge, every patriotic song and the Preamble before I even started Kindergarten. I was… Read more »
Robert Truss
Guest

My dad past after 90. He would have been 96 next month. God Bless you all.

MotherBatherick
Guest

And may God bless YOU, Sir! Thank you for being a Patriot!

Robert Truss
Guest

And you will notice that he did use the word GOD. That’s what made America Strong. It’s not like today when the only true solder’s who follow God’s word.

Brendan
Guest

What?

Robert Truss
Guest

You don’t follow for God and Country? We did.

Brendan
Guest

Maybe I’m misunderstanding the last sentence in your first comment.
Are you saying soldiers who were atheists weren’t true soldiers?

Robert Truss
Guest

Not for God. One of the things that people don’t realize is that God is real, and it takes special people to see the truth. Most everyone in the early days believed in God, but you don’t see that today. That’s what is tearing this nation apart. There are no more morals left. Look at government and look at the school’s. Look at how gang’s have risen. I could go on, but I think you know what I’m going with this. Everyone has a choice, but many have taken the wrong road and opened the gates for corruption to enter.

Shirley Henson
Guest

We have much to thank this generation for; if not for the bravery, and determination of these steadfast men and women, we might not be here today. Now we are facing the same threat from our own government; where are the men willing to fight for our country?

Guest
Guest

T

tex177
Guest

70 years ago my dad was part of the first wave to land on Omaha beach, with
Company E 1st Battalion 16th Infantry 1st Infantry Division ( Big Red One) I
would always call him on June 6th to talk, after I returned from Vietnam those
calls took on a different prospective as did all our calls and meant so much
more to us. I miss him every day.

MotherBatherick
Guest

Our country misses him, too.

Weldon West
Guest

Amazing Hero’s and sacrifices form so many brave young men and women. These individual stories should never be forgotten. I hope our young children in schools are taught what this day, June 6, is and really means to our freedom owed to so many brave soldiers. God bless this country.

The_Patriot
Guest

I once had the distinct honor of knowing a man who stormed the Omaha beach. He was in his late 90’s when he passed a couple of years ago. You would never know him as a brave warrior as he had a very mild manner about him. Kind Considerate and very giving.
God Bless all of those who served then and now

MotherBatherick
Guest

Almost wanted to say I must’ve met the same man except that there was a WHOLE generation of men like that! Real men, real heroes.

The_Patriot
Guest

One of the men i know was a chief mechanic for a B-24 Liberator during WW 2. He is 96 years old He is amazing to talk to. Sharp as a tack, doesn’t say anything unless asked and tells it like it is. Ask him the right questions he could talk for hours about the Planes and their Crews. A wealth of history in him and he is glad to share the events of the day gone by.

Guest
Guest

y.

Philanthropussy
Guest

That wS beautiful . I never thought you had it in you .

The_Patriot
Guest

thank you

Philanthropussy
Guest

Pigs fly in 1,2 , 3 take offffffffff

ShiekYerbouti
Guest

That was low. Even for you, low.

Philanthropussy
Guest

That comment wAs intended for patriot and I don’t own you an explanation

Tom Miller
Guest

We must never forget the names ( of the beaches)…..”Bold”???? It’s “Gold”. Oops Already forgot that one.

namvet
Guest

Truly the great generation. All of them who served were such true Americans, and brave. I respect them all, proud my dad, and uncles and father-in-law served honorably in WWII. America pulled together as a nation.

Philanthropussy
Guest
The_Patriot
Guest

That’s what he may remember, but that is not fact. If it hadn’t been for the Allied Lend Lease Program. The Russians were dependent upon our war supplies and equipment to hold the German’s at bay. Once the German advance was slowed.
The Russians were able to get their man power and equipment production in force. Then what the man said was true. They were a force to recon with. They made the T-34 tanks and fighter planes of their own designs and were very successful.

Nancy
Guest
My Uncle Dub flew bombers into Russia for six months, unarmed. When they landed the Russians locked them in an unheated block house and flew them out the next day with other crews to do it over again. One morning the CO saw him put a 45 in his cowboy boot. Those SOB’s aren’t going to lock me and my men up tonight”, He said. He was transferred to a fighter squadron and on D-day ad been waiting in a Stalag for 2 yrs. The guards surrendered to the American prisoners to keep from being taken by the Russians. Dub… Read more »
Brendan
Guest
The Germans were right to be terrified of the Russian counter attack and what they would do. When the Germans were advancing into Russia, they treated the Russians differently than they did the Western Europeans they captured. Not counting the obvious horrors they inflicted on the Jewish population, they were cruel to the general population as well. The Germans viewed the Russians as subhuman, killing millions and forcing millions more into slave labor. When the Soviet Union launched their counter offensive into Germany, the Red Army was made up of soldiers whose families suffered under the Germans, It was brutal.… Read more »
Philanthropussy
Guest

I’ve said before , the Russian are and always been jealous of the Americans. Sour grapes .

MotherBatherick
Guest
Once had the honor of escorting one of our WWII Vets to the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA for the first time. I was told that he was a quiet man and not to upset him or ask him about the war, so I didn’t. We got inside our vehicle and headed on a two-hour drive to the memorial site. Well, about half way there, this Veteran began talking about his experience on Omaha Beach or rather, parachuting in. I sat in the back seat with one eye closed and pretending to be snoozing while the other eye open and… Read more »
Ernestine Hronas
Guest
Amen and Amen, God bless all who were there before and after, I’ll never forget that day, WE Had WON THE WAR!! We all knew it was over, The Love still remains in my heart for all of those men who sacrificed the comfort of their homes and family, to protect the safety and security of our life in the United States as we knew it. Our boys, became MEN over night, and WHAT MEN THEY WERE? AND HAVE BEEN ALL THE DAYS OF THEIR LIFE. THE TERMS OF OUR CONSTITUTION AFFORDS THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES A LIFE… Read more »
Richard StJohn
Guest

The reason they are known as the greatest generation. With eternal gratitude and the highest respect. It is because of them and those that came before as well as after that in 1963 i claimed freedom as my birthright as an American. Thank you for sharing your perspective Col. West.

Hammerstrike
Guest

They never fought for the safety of the United States but for the sovereignty of other countries and the freedoms of its citizenry.