November 03, 2008

Tribute to Eisenhower

The D-Day Memorial is a tribute to the day the Allied Forces breached the European defenses of Adolph Hitler's war for world domination. I'm afraid that our nation does not remember this day and I'm afraid that we have forgotten our tremendous debt of gratitude that is owed to the soldiers who stormed these beaches and turned the tide of the war.

The pictures in this post are of the statuary presenting busts of the United States generals and advisers. The focal point of this grotto is the large domed tribute to General Eisenhower. The statues and busts in the memorial are 125% of life size, so the 5'2" Eisenhower is shown at 7 feet tall. The impact this man had on the outcome of the war makes me think that his statue is a bit too small, even at this enlarged size.

Underneath the domed roof over Eisenhower's head is a tiled representation of the D-Day invasion planning map. Looking at this map and the statue of General Eisenhower and considering the sacrifice made by the young men who were willing to sacrifice themselves in order to stop the spread of evil in the world is truly a moving experience.

D-Day: It is hard to conceive the epic scope of this decisive battle that foreshadowed the end of Hitler's dream of Nazi domination. Overlord was the largest air, land, and sea operation undertaken before or since June 6, 1944. The landing included over 5,000 ships, 11,000 airplanes, and over 150,000 service men.

D-Day Planning Map

After years of meticulous planning and seemingly endless training, for the Allied Forces, it all came down to this: The boat ramp goes down, then jump, swim, run, and crawl to the cliffs. Many of the first young men (most not yet 20 years old) entered the surf carrying 80 pounds of equipment. They faced over 200 yards of beach before reaching the first natural feature offering any protection. Blanketed by small-arms fire and bracketed by artillery, they found themselves in hell.

When it was over, the Allied Forces had suffered nearly 10,000 casualties; more than 4,000 were dead. Yet somehow, due to planning and preparation, and due to the valor, fidelity, and sacrifice of the Allied Forces, Fortress Europe had been breached.

From the D-Day Memorial tour brochure

Read my wife's post about The Bedford Boys.

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