The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

June 5, 2014

June 6, 1944: D-Day remembered as day of sacrifice, a day of honor

ENID, Okla. — How different might the world have been without D-Day?

Germany might have won World War II, though at the time the Nazis were taking a terrible thrashing from Soviet troops on the Eastern front.

Joseph Stalin’s forces might have led the defeat of Germany, which could have given the Soviets a larger, tighter grip on post-war Europe.

The war might have dragged on much longer than it did, resulting in the deaths of thousands more people, only adding to the suffering of those imprisoned in Nazi death camps.

But June 6, 1944, shall forever be known as D-Day, a day the world, and the course of World War II, changed.

Thousands of men died that day, the precise number lost to the fog of history. But their sacrifice led to the beginning of the end of that bloody conflict.

The allied foothold at Normandy, and subsequent advance across France, struck a psychological blow against the Germans, as well as a physical one, as well as buoying spirits on the home front.

Because of the allied presence in western Europe, Hitler was unable to move troops from France to the embattled Eastern front to face the advancing Soviet army.

It was a great day, it was a terrible day. It was one of the greatest days of the Greatest Generation.

We are 70 years on from that historic day, and many of those who survived the fighting subsequently have lost their battle to time.

It won’t be too many years until all of them are gone.

It behooves those of us who remain to continue to honor the sacrifices and accomplishments of June 6, 1944.

The men who fought on D-Day answered the call of free nations in the battle against the forces of tyranny. They changed the world that day, they made history, they made their nation proud.

With any luck, the world will never see a day like it again.

But if we do, we can only hope the freedom-loving people of that day can meet the challenge half as well as did the men of D-Day.

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