By Gordon Forgey

A lesson from D-Day


The D-Day landings took place in Normandy France, June 6, 1944.

That was 75 years ago during World War II.

The landings were a great gamble. They were a do or die situation intended to gain a foothold in Europe for the United States and its allies and to open a second front against Nazi Germany.

Thousands of troops landed on the Normandy coast of France. Thousands parachuted behind German lines.

Those on the beaches faced the daunting Atlantic Wall, a series of defenses that the Germans had been preparing for years.

It was a massive effort.

The allies built artificial harbors to supply the troops. Fuel was pumped along the seafloor. Misdirection and subterfuge kept the Germans guessing as to where the landings would occur.

There were no guarantees that the assault would be successful. In fact, commanding general Dwight Eisenhower secretly composed a note blaming himself if the assault failed.

But, it didn’t fail. It worked.

The allies were successful in breaching the defenses and moving inland. The loss of lives on both sides was heavy.

The D-Day landings opened the way for the allies to drive the Germans out of France and to continue on into Germany.

As allied troops advanced, the Nazi regime was squeezed by them and the Russians coming from the east.

Less than a year later the war in Europe ended.

The D-Day landings were an important turning point in World War II. It is an iconic moment in history. So much was invested into them and so much was sacrificed. They have been called the greatest human endeavor of all time.

Most of the attention, and rightfully so, has been given the young men who took part in the battle.

Often, forgotten is the massive planning and preparation that preceded the assault.

Also a factor often forgotten was the unwavering consensus of the allied nations involved. The job had to be done, Germany had to be defeated. Strategies may have been debated, but not the need to rid the world of Nazism.

Consensus was not lacking, and it enabled every effort and resource to be applied. The goal was clear. Dedication, commitment and resolve was virtually unlimited.

If the same level of fortitude and agreement were applied to problems facing the world today most of them could be solved.

All that is needed is a consensus of purpose. What that can accomplish was proved 75 years ago.


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