Wednesday, June 06, 2007

June 6, 1944...


Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is will trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

Dwight D. Eisenhower


Ben said...

The gravity of this and other photos of the landings is profound. I have a special place in my heart for the Landing Craft too; my Grandfather worked his whole life in Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston. He once told me that he mainly worked on the amphibious landing craft and destroyers. He was a shipfitter by trade. - B

Nick said...

Yeah, the photos from early in the day convey a lot more emotion to me than the photos of the beachhead after it was established.

I actually like this one better than the famous Bob Capa shot of the blurry soldier in the surf. This was a group event and the shot of the soldiers backs conveys a sense of unity in cause and camaraderie that Capa's shot doesn't. Capa's shot conveys the sense of confusion and fear in combat to me, but I still like this one better. This one isn't as "action oriented" as Capa's but you get the sense of enormity of the odds they were facing as you look in the background and see the dark cliffs of Omaha Beach shrouded in smoke and the bodies barely visible at the surf-line.